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Mental game Tips

Read these 25 Mental game Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Basketball tips and hundreds of other topics.

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how do I develop confidence?


Always believe in yourself. If you think you can`t do it, you aren`t going to . When shooting, believe its going in and it will have a better a chance.

How can I improve in the off season?

Improve everyday!

Strive to improve everyday... both physically and mentally. Play against players that are better than you... that's how you get better. Learn from TV and watch instructional videos to learn even more. Never stop learning!

What causes nerves in games?


The main reason that players don´t perform well in games is nervousness, and the main cause of nervousness is lack of self confidence. You have to believe that you can play with the people on the court and not get intimidated. You must believe that no one on the court is better than you. Have a good attitude. Believe in yourself and just know in your mind that you have put in the work during practice to be successful in a game situation.

How competitive should practices be?

Desire - The Need to Succeed

Where do you fit into this spectrum of desire? Well, to find out, consider the following self-assessment scale. Level of Desire Scale
0 percent: I won`t.
10 percent: I can`t.
20 percent: I don`t know how.
30 percent: I wish I could.
40 percent: What is it?
50 percent: I think I might.
60 percent: I might.
70 percent: I think I can.
80 percent: I can.
90 percent: I will.
95 percent: I did it.
100 percent:I did it and I know I can do it again, only this time, even better!


Confidence in Shooting

A shooter needs to have confidence. One good way to give yourself confidence is to remember that two balls will fit through the hoop at a time. This gives you a large margin of error to work with.

How can I help my team?

Inferior opponents

When playing against teams or players who are not quite as talented, it is important to play at YOUR best. Do not drop your level of play simply to defeat the opponent. Compete against your own personal best every time out, and try to achieve that.


"Mental is to Physical as 5 is to 1"

Bobby Knight said this years ago during a successful run as the basketball coach at Indiana University and it still holds true today (although the ratio has since been lowered, the principle remains the same). The number of questions asked regarding how to improve a player's vertical jump still outnumbers all other questions by at least the same margin. Does this indicate that players are focusing on the wrong things? To a great extent, the answer is a resounding "yes"!

The tough thing about mental/visual training is that, without some type of feedback, you never really know if the players are seriously doing it. Visualization, for example, is apparently effective, but if you tell a player to do it, does he really?

I firmly believe that the best shooters (given a proper release) are the ones who can really zero in on a specific point on the rim. A good method is to suggest that players walk around the gym to quickly glance at the rim and sight their target spot (at the front of the rim, usually). This can be an effective method, but the trouble is, how do you know that your players are really doing it?

How do you prepare your players for the mental part of the game? Some coaches have playbooks and some watch a lot of video, have classroom chalk-talks, or spend time discussing scenarios. A good suggestion is to use a 3 x 5 "cheat sheet" with play calls and brief descriptions. Pass them out at the beginning of every road trip and suggest that players visualize themselves executing the play and concentrate on the timing and positioning of the other nine players on the floor. All visualization should produce a positive result.

Basketball intelligence doesn't just happen--it can be developed. It is the coach's job to provide the proper environment and supply the tools for that to occur.

Is handchecking a foul?

little things

The little things you do to help your team...make all the difference in the world...every successful inbound pass, every rebound, every "dive" for a loose ball...will determine the outcome!

How can I help my team?


Forget about the scouts and the newspapers...they come to see players..make them see A TEAM!! It doesn't matter what they write in their columns...Just Win!!

How can I help my team?


Reputations and rankings don't mean JACK...on any given night you can beat anyone!


Proper Preparation

Pay attention to how you prepare for each game, especially when you play well. Competing in athletic contests can often be a matter of routine, and anything you can do to keep that routine similar from game to game, especially when you have played well, can help.

Follow the same pre-game routines, think about the same type of things, relax but focus on the game at hand. Most importantly, learn to visualize what you are going to be doing in the game, always seeing yourself being successful.

how can I become a better rebounder?

Mental Imagery

Mental Rehearsal: This is almost as important as practicing the action itself. The brain patterns during mental rehearsal of an action are the same as those when preparing for the action before the motor skill is selected, so the more you mentally rehearse a shot, the quicker and easier it will be to prepare to carry out the shot.


Run On and Off

Always run on and off the court--for a time out, when you are taken out of a game, or at half time. Psychologically, you are showing your opponent that you won't wear down. The Boston Celtics under Red Auerbach would not even sit down during a time out in order to appear fresh to their opponents.

How can I help my team?

enjoy the moment

enjoy the moment...when you get my age, you won't remember the will remember the Battle...and the brothers or sisters who stood there with you.

How can I help my team?


Referees make mistakes. It's part of the game. Captains should learn the ref's last name, put Mr. or Ms. before it when you speak to them, and watch things turn your way.

How can I help my team?

follow your coaches lead

Moms and Dads are great...but this is not their time...follow your coaches team!

How much should a parent be involved?

PLaying Time

Don't blame the coach for your child's problems or lack of playing time. Your child's struggles to succeed are your child's problems. Let him work them out without your interference. A player has every right to ask a coach what needs to be done to earn more playing time, for example. But a parent stepping in to demand playing time is another thing altogether.

How much should a parent be involved?


Please don't shout advice to your player during the game. Shout encouragement? You bet. A steady stream of technique suggestions might have no value. Your insightful tips may conflict with the coach's instruction.

How much should a parent be involved?

Positive Involvement

As a parent, be involved in a positive way. Attend your child's games as often as you can. Cheer for all the kids on the team. Help with fund raising. Assist with logistics. If you're not sure how to help, ask the coach. There is probably a hundred ways to be a good team member and a good parent at the same time. When the larger definition of team is working well, the experience can be wonderful for everyone involved. People who see your program in action will want to be a part of it. Parents looking ahead to when their child will be old enough to participate will want to fit in and help. This kind of teamwork perpetuates itself. Once it gets momentum, it can be quite a force. It just takes parents who care.

How can I help my team?

Newspaper clippings

Have your mom or dad save newspaper clippings about your team..BUT DON'T YOU READ THEM UNTIL THE SEASONS have to play...not the news people..don't get poisoned by what you read.

How much should a parent be involved?

The Other Team

Please don't razz the other team's players. The other team's players should be considered off limits. Yelling at or deriding someone else's child is a shameful practice for an adult at a sporting event. Parents who intend to disrupt, distract or upset players exhibit the worst of poor sportsmanship

How much should a parent be involved?

Support the Coach

Please don't talk bad about the coach in front of your child. The worst thing a parent can do is take pot shots at the coach, criticizing decisions, and complaining about his leadership. Support the coach and stand behind his decisions.

How much should a parent be involved?

Harrassing the Referees

Please don't harass the refs. Parents that loudly harass the referee are embarrassing to the player and the team. When a parent makes a spectacle of himself at a game, the player is embarrassed. If the ref is being reamed by a parent for a bad call (by definition, a bad call is any decision made against the parent's child), what does the player learn? He learns that the mistake wasn't his fault. It was the result of poor officiating. This is a bad habit to get into. Don't encourage your child to place the blame for their failures upon others. One of the benefits of playing sports is learning to accept responsibility instead of making excuses. Sometimes a call is hard to take for whatever reason. Such times are tests of emotional control. If a player can learn to bite his lip and move on, a parent can learn to sit quietly for a moment and let the emotion pass. Learning to cope with disappointment is a valuable life skill.

What can I do to stay mentally alert in the game?

Three Rules for Your Children

Here are some guidelines for parents to give their children who participate in sports. Three simple rules: First, once you start, you finish. Do not allow your children to quit a team for any reason. Second, the coach's decision is final. Do not intercede or interfere whether you like a decision or not. Third, you do whatever it takes to make the team successful. Personal glory pales in relationship to team success.

How can I help my team?

Relative Motion

Along with all of the individual fundamentals, players need to understand the concept of "relative motion". That can best be described as realizing how one player fits into the space on the floor, given the "relative" positioning of the other players, both offense and defense. A player with this understanding will know how to move to get open, create proper spacing, passing angles, play good on ball defense, and give good team defensive help.

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Guru Spotlight
Ray Lokar