Basketball Psychology

Sports Psychology for Basketball Players & Coaches

Manage Stress: Meditate & Visualize

“I recruit character as much as I recruit ability. And if you’ve built a team of character, they can handle moments that others cannot and they accept coaching on how to manage pressure” – Roy Williams

mental-performance-stressWith all the scientific evidence coming out in the past several years, stress management is becoming something that can’t be overlooked when it comes to improving your basketball mental game.

Every athlete knows the fact that the biggest opponent is always inside. Stress management gives you ways to come to terms with this opponent.

Meditation is one of the best things every athlete can do when it comes to stress management. It doesn’t matter what position you play, you can benefit from meditation. Meditation research on athletic performance is still very much in its infancy. However, meditation has been shown to help in other areas that could relate to improving athletic performance.

Every professional coach in the world should be looking at the thousands of studies that have shown the effectiveness of meditation. Phil Jackson, one of the all-time winning coaches in the NBA, has been using meditation for years with his players — he won 11 NBA championships.

Athletes are always under stress. They pride themselves on the ability to be in a high stress environment. Why not embrace a practice that has been shown to reduce stress? Incorporating a little bit of meditation before the game could improve your mental game tremendously.

Your focus will determine if you win or lose a game. When you’re at the free throw line, and you’re not focused, you will miss the shot. Why not train your mind to focus? Meditation has been shown to increase states of focus within the brain. Every athlete can increase their focus no matter what level they are on.

Have you ever lost a game, miss the game winning shot? Fail hard? We all have. Sometimes it becomes hard to bounce back; we run obsessive thoughts through our mind. Meditation has been shown to reduce rumination; mediation will essentially help you reset your mind to focus on the present.

One study on sports psychology for basketball showed that athlete with more mindful traits are better able to stabilize their emotions and have better control over their minds. The competitive nature of all athletes causes them to have to deal with a roller coaster of different emotions. Why not embrace meditation, use imaginary throughout the game and become a better competitor?

Imagery is also an excellent mental strategy for shaping your athletic successes. Many athletes find imagery helpful in evaluating performance, practicing new skills and finding areas for improvement.

Imagery can improve your confidence and consequently, your basketball mental toughness. You can imagine the plays, the crowd and the competitors, allowing you to mentally practice competing against a specific opponent.

Recall bits and pieces of these experiences throughout your day whenever you have a moment, especially in times when you are thinking about your training or competition with anxiety or negativity.

Meditation and Visualization could be that extra mental edge that helps you win the game-winning point or helps you get that second win when you think you are tired. Why not incorporate these basketball psychology techniques into your training regime? It just might make you a better competitor.

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

Updated: February 26, 2017 — 12:40 pm

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