Mar
06

Manage Stress & Improve Your Mental Game

“Everything negative – Pressure, Stress, Challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise”– Kobe Bryant

mental-performance-stressThe ability to cope with pressure and stress is essential in almost all walks of life including basketball.

The fact is, when under pressure many athletes find that they are not able to produce their best performance. It is a very common experience, when the occasion matters most the outcome is a very unpleasant experience.

In sports psychology for basketball, it is a psychological stressor that refers to feelings an individual has about an upcoming competition. It can be intrinsic/internal, created by the athlete with thoughts such as “I must run well,” or “This is a big competition I have to win.”

It can also be affected by external/extrinsic factors, such as a big buildup in the media, or a coach placing added importance on a competition.

In the competitive sporting environment, the ability to deal with pressure and perform when it matters most is a vital ingredient to an individual’s short- and long-term success.

Sport psychology is a rapidly growing discipline in which scientific and well-documented psychological principles are used to help athletes, coaches and anybody else involved in sport to “be the best that they can be” when it really counts.

Under pressure, how do you make sure you get the performance you want? How do you stack the odds in your favor when faced with intense stress?

Research on basketball psychology shows that mental state is related to a number of positive thoughts and emotions.

Athletes, who are able to get into a challenge state when under pressure show high levels of self-confidence, perceive their performance to be within their control, and focus on what they can achieve rather than what they could lose if they messed up.

Most importantly, they are able to harness in on their basketball mental game by being mentally tough and utilizing mental skills such as visualization, pre-performance routines, goal setting and other skills to increase their resources whenever they wish to.

Many athletes spend too much time working on things that don’t really matter.

Time is the most valuable commodity in life: It is the one thing you cannot buy more of. So, don’t waste time. Focus on what really matters. What is really important for your success? Are you working on priorities that drive your overall goals? Scrutinize your day and max it out every hour, minute and second to focus on the most important things. This will require planning, structure and commitment.

The more you experience and gain insight into your internal obstacles to optimal performance, the greater your ability will be to contain and manage your anxieties which in turn will help you reach peak performance.

*Download the free mental game assessment and get started on Improving your Mental Game in Basketball

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