“Champions play as they practice. Create a consistency of excellence in all your habits” Mike Krzyzewsk
Elite athletes usually are devoted to improving their performance and spend a maximum amount of time doing so.
Their goal is to improve their mental toughness mainly so they can perform at their best when under pressure or faced with difficulties.
Competition is very unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared for all possible outcomes. A common way to achieve this is through a pre-game routine that is customized specifically for you.
In basketball psychology, you learn that a pre-game routine can boost your performance by a large amount because you are learning to control your focus, focus on the relevant tasks and block out distractions.
Choosing the right pre-game routine is always the toughest decision to make because everyone has their weaknesses and strengths to consider when picking a routine. Therefore, it varies from person to person, but how can you tell if it is working for you or not?
If you already have a pre-game routine but don’t see any drastic improvements in your mental toughness or overall performance, then you have to think about switching it up. You do not have to change the entire routine, but only in places you think needs improvement.
Furthermore, if you go through changes that impact your performance like recovering from a broken leg, then it is obvious that you have to change your routine to cater for your weak leg more. So, routines should change if you change.
Do’s and Don’ts
To improve your mental game, you need to know the do’s and don’ts of pre-game routines to make sure you are not making any mistakes.
The first and most important rule is to ensure that your routine is not just mere superstitions. A superstitious habit is something that is not at all relevant to your game and will not help you. For example, things like lucky charms or eating specific cereals. These old folk tales made by ancestors or just things you made yourself believe for no apparent reason.
Basketball psychology allows you to understand that your pre-game routine must mainly focus on improving your mental toughness through habits that trigger your concentration or habits that boost your self-confidence.
A few examples are by taking a moment to visualize your strategies so you can get your mind in the game and by repeating positive thoughts. Don’t overthink about a situation because then you will start to worry and let in all the negative thoughts.
Athletes tend to do this due to all the pressure that is put on them, and that is why having a pre-game routine is beneficial because it distracts your mind from these thoughts and you will not feel the pressure as much.
Your basketball mental game should not be taken lightly because your overall performance highly depends on your mental toughness.
You need to prepare by making sure your mind is relaxed by taking deep breaths or listening to soothing songs. As long as your mind is relaxed, you are unlikely to choke during a competition.
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