Tips to Improve Mental Toughness in Basketball
Being mentally tough in basketball can be just as valuable an asset as great height or a smooth jump shot. This means keeping your emotions in check and your head in the game, regardless of the situation. If your shots aren’t falling, you find another way to help your team. If your team is down at halftime, you come out in the second half and aggressively go after that lead. There are ways to make yourself mentally tougher on the court, resulting in big improvements in your game.
Get Physically Tough
Mental toughness in sports often springs from being in top physical shape. If you know you can keep up with any athlete on the court and be strong enough to handle the pounding you take under the basket, you’re already ahead. And the toughness gained through those weight workouts, agility drills, sprints, long practices and other training experiences can’t help but carry over onto the court at game time.
Play With Better Players
How many times have you heard sports announcers try to explain a good team losing to an opponent everyone knows is inferior? One reason given is that teams tend to play to the level of their competition. If you want to get better and mentally tougher, find opponents and teammates who are better than you. By fighting to keep up with stronger and more skilled players, you’ll not only pick up some pointers, but you’ll develop a toughness that will carry you throughout the season.
Run, Run, Run
You may have heard how some movie actors “stay in character” even when the cameras aren’t rolling. The same should be true for you as a player. Always be in game mode. Run to and from the bench; exhort your teammates on the court and from the sidelines; believe that every one of your shots will go in and that you can keep up with any opponent. If you’re always running, always hustling, you let your opponent know you’re never giving up and won’t allow your thoughts to drift.
Discard Bad Habits
Playing with mental toughness means playing with confidence in your abilities and knowing what to do. If you find yourself not boxing out your opponent for a rebound, remind yourself next time down the court to box out and be in good position. If you’re not moving your feet on defense, tell yourself, “move your feet.” Think about the words and advice that stick with you in practice and use those words to keep you focused and playing better during the game.