Those who followed the story of Larry Sanders, the once promising NBA star whose career came to a sudden end at 26, can attest to the fact that mental wellness is of extreme importance to basketball players. For him, the end of his career began with anxiety followed by depression which led him to marijuana addiction and being kicked off his team. The pressure to constantly deliver, especially in big championships, with the average viewership of finals being over 17 million, can be overwhelming and result in anxiety. That anxiety, in turn, leads to mistakes and underperformance which paves the way for depression. Having all the knowledge on dominating opponents and winning games is nothing if your mental wellness game is poor. Staying calm and relaxed is the secret behind peak performance. If you want to know how, below are three tips to help you develop the right mindset before any game.
Meditating as a pre-game routine
Pre game routines can be done as a team or alone. A pre-game routine has the effect of relaxing your mind that in turn boosts your mental preparedness. Mental preparedness and wellness are of extreme importance as showcased by the steps the NBA has taken on the subject. Meditation before the game is one of the methods to attain relaxation. You can try different types of meditation methods or partake in a reading. You can also opt to sit down and listen to your favorite song repeatedly using your headphones. This brings about a sense of relaxation.
Taking deep breaths while inhaling and exhaling repeatedly is an effective way of relaxation as well. Naps before the game can clear your mind.
Building morale and confidence using affirmations
Believing in one’s ability to overcome any challenge is an important aspect in having the right mind before starting any game. Take a few minutes to make positive affirmations about your skills such as, ‘ I am a great basketball player’ and ‘Nothing is out of my reach’. Repeating this boosts your confidence. Positive affirmations have been scientifically proven, through published works such as the Psychological Science journal, to boost performance.
You can rewatch or recount your previous moments of brilliance: the memorable last minute 3 pointers or match winning defensive actions you have had in your past games. This builds confidence since it tells your mind if such moves were possible in the past, they can easily be redone in the present.
Avoid fear of failure
Never fear to fail. Even the pros before you, the likes of Lebron James and Kobe Bryant were once on the losing side. Therefore never fear to try out those three pointers or throwing the counter attacking passes. Fearing won’t help you meet the target only inhibit you. This is showcased by 3 psychologists from the University of Delaware, who studied the effect of fear on performance and concluded fear increases chances of committing errors. That said, relax and realize that if one aspect of your game is not on point, you can focus on the other aspects. Stay calm and focus on your strengths.
Basketball games can be stressful. They bring about a lot of anxiety due to the expectations associated with them, from the fans to the coach and owners of the club. Players can therefore follow the above tips so as to achieve mental wellness and have a clear mind before the beginning of any game.