Most people would tend to perceive basketball as a purely physical game. You can see that evidence everywhere: endless physical trainings to bout any bodily weaknesses; energy drinks and foods that focus on combating fatigue; clothes and shoes that give comfort during the game; etcetera, etcetera.
Perhaps, to add further proof, we can add in the basketball athletes’ way of delivering the game itself. They thrust and drive and pivot and shoot-it’s all a perspiration-inducing game.
But beyond all the physicality of the game, it would be wise to believe that mental preparation is also a necessity in this type of sport. Mental training isn’t just for chess or any sedentary mind game. In fact, it is equally as important as physical trainings.
Now, you might be asking, how you will be able to incorporate mental training or any psychological preparation into each of your game. It’s definitely not easy. The basic attitudes are persistence, perseverance and the will to finish any commitment. Just like physical training, the required mental trainings ask for competitiveness and the three attitudes just mentioned are essential.
0nce you are committed to do whatever it takes to gain the edge on your game, here are the most common techniques that mind experts (that’s psychologists to you) advise you to do:
1. Relaxation of the mind-this includes exercises that are similar to yoga exercises where you relax your mind inspite of the distractions. The mind relaxation technique is voluntary and you should be able to calm your mind even if the dog outside is barking or when your roommate has just blasted on the TV. Concentration is the keyword in achieving this technique. This means you should be able to control what you feel even if you have just gone through a stressful day at the office.
2. The Will to change Unpleasant Attitudes-this is a must. To be able to incorporate new ways into your game, you should be willing to give up your old ways. If there are many attitudes that get in the way of gaining a better game, then you must get rid of them for the sake of improvement. Anger management is on this list. If you are the type that explodes at the smallest provocation, then it is high time to control this negative attitude and gear it towards having a controlled temper. If you are also the type that puts off routines and other necessary trainings until you tend to cram when the game draws near, then it’s time to discipline yourself.
3. Control of Energy-you will be better able to direct your strength towards the achievement of a better basketball game.
4. Have a Can Do Attitude-visualize yourself scoring more than you have ever done. If you believe in yourself and the power that your mind is able to do, then you will start seeing results. Equipped with this newfound attitude towards the game (and life in general) and constant practice, then there is nowhere to go but up.
5. There was an interesting study on stress management called the Stress Inoculation training. In this training, the basketball athletes were exposed to minimal, initial doses of stress until they gradually underwent heightened introduction of stresses. This study wanted to prove that immunity from stress might be achieved. Perhaps a good source of ‘stress’ would be the rigors of basketball training itself. It’s physically draining but in a good way.
6. Attain a confident attitude-self-esteem is an integral part on any basketball player’s game. Once he has the confidence, all other techniques come easy.
7. Love of the Game-work becomes work only if it stops being something you enjoy. When an athlete starts to see the boring side of the game or when he fails to ‘feel’ the game, then that’s where failure creeps in. Shun basketball when you don’t enjoy it-plain and simple.
There are so many techniques of basketball game improvement. But if you have read carefully, you will notice that it all boils down to one-you. When you know what you want and work hard to achieve it physically, nutritionally and mentally, then you are on your way to achieving success.
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