“The key is not the will to win. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” -Bobby Knight
Preparation is more important than you might think.
Having the will to win is not enough to make you successful in basketball, but the preparation that you have to do is. Creating a routine of winning habits is the best way to stay prepared.
How Can Pre-Game Affect Performance?
First of all, you have to understand what a pregame routine is. It is a repetitive and sequential behavior that athletes perform before the game to prepare them.
It is vital in developing your mental toughness because you will be learning how to control your thoughts and avoid distractions through your routine.
How this works is, you will create habits and behaviors that will benefit you mentally and physically to keep your mind focused on only the relevant factors at hand.
Your mind is a very complex thing and can easily get caught up in distractions like, “what if something goes wrong?” or “is the audience judging me?”. This is why you need mental preparation beforehand in the form of a pre-game routine, to help you distract your mind from negative, irrelevant factors which will allow you to focus your energy where it matters.
Improving your confidence is a huge benefit, especially when an unexpected or tough situations.
When faced with a problem, it is common for athletes to panic because they do not think they have what it takes to overcome the problem in a split-second. This is why boosting your confidence through a positive sequential behavior like self-reassurance, or a mantra will go a long way in the game.
Going Beyond Superstitions
Basketball psychology states that players who follow a certain sequential behavior are proven to have a higher success rate when faced with a free throw. These behaviors may include certain stretches, counting down to 0 or breathing in and out.
Some people mistake a routine with superstition, and this can be very misleading because superstitions do not improve your performance or mental game the way routines do, so knowing the difference is important.
Superstitions are absurd behaviors that people do before a game to bring them luck. This may include things like eating a whole garlic clove or wearing a certain sock.
Basketball psychologists say that these things are not proven to help in any way but are rather myths that are passed on from generations to generations.
It is more helpful to stick to routines that can improve your basketball mental toughness like relaxation methods, positive self-talk, goal setting and the list goes on.
Elite basketball players have a pre-game routine that helps them perform at their best level. It is easy to get inspiration from the best athletes, and by seeing how successful their winning habits make them, you can be motivated to follow their steps.
Of course, we all have our ways of improving ourselves so be sure to make your pre-game routine suitable for you.
Download the free mental game assessment and get started on improving your Mental Game in Basketball.