Tag Archives: confidence

Basketball 101: The ABCs of Shooting

16 Jul

I’ve always been a big believer in defense, as it relates to team sports.  If you can limit your opponent’s scoring opportunities, you will always be in the game — you’ll always have a chance.

Conversely, I understand the importance of offense — you’ve got to shoot if you want to score, and you’ve got to score if you want to win.

Basketball shooting is built on repetition — quality repetition.  Great shooters understand that there are a few basic principles that guide their desire to become proficient.  Here are a few tips — ABCs, if you will — to consider as you prepare for your upcoming season:

Accuracy

You’ve got to be able to put the ball in the hoop.  Great shooters are accurate.  They don’t make all their shots, but their shots are always around the basket.  That means shooting with the proper releaserotation, and arc, for any given shot.  Technically correct form is a must.  If you practice with poor shooting mechanics, all you’ll succeed in doing is reinforcing poor shooting form.

Belief

If you’re going to be a great shooter, you’ll need an unwavering belief in yourself.  You’ve got to have confidence that borders on (but doesn’t manifest itself in) cockiness, and confidence leads to success.  You must want the ball in your hands, want to take the “big” shot, and believe in your ability to make it.

Consistency

As previously stated, release, rotation, and arc are important components of shooting.  The ball has got to come off your hand the same way — consistently — for any given shot.  It’s all about muscle-memory.  Once again, technically correct repetition is the key — doing it the same way, over and over again.

As long as we’re at it, there are a few “Ds” to throw into the mix: DependabilityDedication, and Desire.  Great shooters are dependable, and can be counted on to produce, consistently.  Great shooters are also dedicated to self-improvement, and have a strong desire to be the best they can be.

To get the most out of your practice, make sure your shooting drills reflect game conditions and game speed.  As much as possible, you want to be able to simulate conditions similar to those you’ll encounter in competitive play.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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The Most Important Game Is Your Next Game

18 Jun

How did you play in your last game?  Did you play as well as you wanted?  Did you play as well as you expected?  Did you play as well as you are capable?

Maybe you played with aggressiveness, or maybe you weren’t aggressive enough.

Maybe you played with confidence, or maybe it was lacking.

Maybe you brought energy, or maybe it just wasn’t there.

Well, here’s the deal:  There’s nothing you can do to change your effort or your performance now.  The game is over.

The key is to analyze and understand your performance — what happened and why it happened — and use that analysis and understanding to gain a competitive advantage… to improve upon your last game.

If you played a great game, work on further improving and reinforcing the things you did well.

If you played a not-so-great game, don’t dwell on it — it’s over.  But make sure you learn from it, and do your best to apply what you learned to your next game.

Because now the only game that matters is your next game.  It’s the most important one, because it’s the next game you can impact.  You can’t play any of the games after the next game until you play the next one.  Do your best to make it what you want it to be.  Make it happen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Your Beliefs Can Limit You or Empower You

2 Apr

“Whether you believe you can, or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

We’ve all heard stories about people who accomplished or achieved great things just because they believed they could or didn’t realize they couldn’t.

What we don’t often hear about is the process — the path they traveled on the road to success.  Along the way, their journeys were invariably characterized by their work ethic, persistence, perseverance, and a strong belief in themselves.

What do you believe? Are you aware of how your beliefs are affecting your achievement and success?

Limiting beliefs can cause problems in every area of our lives.  These beliefs are rooted in self-doubt and the “I’m not good enough” mentality.  If you don’t feel good enough, you won’t apply yourself and do what it takes to excel.  You will settle for less than your are capable of and less than you deserve.

Negative self-talk reinforces limiting beliefs.  You may ask yourself, “What if I fail?”  Who cares if you fail?  Failure is a part of life.  Learn from it.  Try again.  Come back better, smarter, and stronger next time.  In any endeavor, failure is a stepping stone on the path to success.

Empowering beliefs keep you going when life throws you a curve ball.  These beliefs help you set powerful goals and stick to them, even when the going gets tough.  When you feel good about yourself — when you are at peace with you — you can focus on the process and know that the end result doesn’t necessarily define you.

Positive self-talk is a powerful tool.  It can inspire and motivate you.  It can help keep you going — working through adversity — when things aren’t going as well as you may like or expect.

Believe in you!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Take Yourself Out of the Game

21 Apr

As an athlete, consistency is important.  Consistency of effort, preparation, and practice leads to consistency of performance.  But, despite our best efforts, athletes at every level experience performance slumps.  There will be  some games when your shots are just not falling.  How will you deal with it?

There are some things that are under your control every time you take the court.  Attitude is one of them and, perhaps, the most important.  You decide if and how you let a missed shot or turnover affect your next possession, or the rest of your game.  Although it may be easier said then done, a positive mental approach (and, sometimes, a short memory) is critical to athletic performance success.

Effort is another area that shouldn’t be impacted by your level of play.  Keep hustling.  Continue to “play hard, play smart, and play together” (Dean Smith, former University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach).  Don’t allow a missed shot or bad pass to be an excuse to give anything less than 100% when you’re on the court.  Focus on the aspects of your play that aren’t susceptible to slumps, like defense, boxing out, and rebounding.

Don’t allow a performance slump to take away your aggressiveness, confidence, or energy.  You’ve worked hard to get to this point.  Keep believing in yourself and maintain a high intensity level.  Draw on positive past experience to fuel your thoughts.  Keep working hard, stay positive, and good things will happen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Mental Preparation is the Key

8 Feb

joey-votto-smi2[1]Every athlete knows that physical tools are important.  Strength, speed, agility, and athleticismand the commitment to the development of each — are integral to success in virtually every sport.  Factor in sport-specific skill development (for example, basketball ball-handling and shooting), and you’re on your way to building a strong foundation.

Equally important is your mind, and its ability to drive your body.  Mental preparation, focus, and confidence are all implicated in your success and attainment of your goals.  Generally, your limits will be those you set for yourself.  Here are some tips to improve performance and push through those self-imposed limitations through mental preparation.

Have a plan

I’m always surprised by athletes, especially at the higher levels, who “just play.”  That is, they don’t really have a game plan.  Situational preparation leads to successful execution.  A baseball player should go to the plate with a plan, depending on the score, inning, opposing tendencies and trends, number of outs, baserunners, pitch type and location, etc.  Having a plan — and working your plan — will help build your confidence, which fuels a positive mindset.

Stay positive

A negative attitude and focus won’t help you or your team.  When I train athletes, we don’t talk about the negative.  Sure, there will be times when you face less-than-desirable circumstances and conditions (inclement weather, an injured teammate, etc.)  Your attitude is contagious and it will impact the people around you.  Do your best to maintain positive words and body language.  Expect to win.

Be adaptable

There’s a lot you can control, but not everything.  You have to practice being adaptable, and believe you can do anything.  Train yourself to overcome obstacles, and not concede to them.  For example, a basketball point guard should anticipate the defense taking away his/her strong hand, and should practice and develop capable ball-handling skills with his/her “off” hand.

Focus on small goals

Rather than focusing on winning the game, direct your focus on each individual at-bat or offensive possession.  Your goal should be to win each inning, quarter, or period.  Successful attainment of each small goal will lead you, ultimately, to your larger goal.  Looking too far ahead to the outcome can dilute your focus.  Do your best to impact the present and the future will take care of itself.

Talk to yourself

Positive self-talk is a strong motivator.  External motivation is great, but it’s also inconsistent — you can’t always count on others to motivate you.  Find quotes, sayings, or slogans that motivate you.  Visualize yourself succeeding (and celebrating).  Learn to communicate with yourself in a way that is positive and motivating.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Communication, Confidence, Leadership, and Passion

26 Oct

9-27_sports_volleyball_julianawacklawski_14-792x5281This past weekend, I had the pleasure of watching a local volleyball standout, now playing for a successful, East coast DI program.

I actually saw her play for the first time as a high school senior – by accident.  I was at a match watching a few athletes I train, and she was a teammate of one of “my” athletes.  I quickly recognized that she was the best player on the floor and have followed her career since.

This young lady has obviously spent countless hours on the court, practicing her volleyball skills.  And, although she is clearly a very talented volleyball player, she has something more.  I recognized four “intangible” characteristics that set her – and, I believe all great athletes – apart from her teammates and competitors:

Communication

Great communicator.  Always talking with her teammates (and, occasionally, coaches) – positioning, strategy, encouragement.

Confidence

Great aptitude for the game.  High volleyball IQ.  Has a “short memory” and doesn’t beat herself up when she makes mistakes.  Trusts her abilities and skills.

Leadership

Along with communication, like having another coach on the floor.  Takes charge, provides guidance and direction to teammates.  Never comes off the court.

Passion

Obviously loves the game.  Plays with energy and enthusiasm.  Always hustles.  Never concedes a point or takes a play off.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Stay in the Game

8 Aug

NCAA FOOTBALL 2010: Oct 02 Wyoming at ToledoIt’s important for athletes (and everyone else) to take care of themselves, physically and mentally.  You can’t skip the basics of good physical and mental health and expect to perform at a high level.  Here are some tips to help you stay active:

Make exercise a habit.  If you do something on a regular basis, it becomes part of your life.  Regular exercise has demonstrated the ability to improve physical and mental well-being.

Take it easy.  Try to relax rather than putting a lot of stress on yourself.  When you’re relaxed, you’ll be better prepared and see things more clearly.

Listen to your body.  One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is coming back from injury too soon.  Take some time to allow your body to heal normally.

Don’t overdo it… moderation is the key.  Whether it’s your diet or exercise, avoid an extreme, fanatical approach and don’t go overboard.

Believe in you.  When you’re confident, it enhances a lot of things, including your physical and mental performance and achievement.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Great Players Have Short Memories

22 Apr

phoenix[1]Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” – Mia Hamm

No one is successful 100% of the time.  No one.  Sometimes… we fail.

In sports, it may be a missed shot or turnover; a fumble or dropped pass; or a strikeout or error.

In school, it could be a poor (or subpar) assignment grade or quiz/test score.

At work, perhaps it’s a missed deadline or ineffective presentation.

In life, sometimes we just don’t handle the art of “human communication and interaction” with our loved ones, friends, and neighbors as well as we could have, or as well as we would have liked.

It’s not the mistake that defines you.  What matters most is how you handle it; how you proceed; what you do next.

One of the keys to success:  Don’t let the past determine your future.  Trust in your ability.  Let go of the past and move on.  Believe in you.

If a baseball player strikes out and continues to dwell on it, chances are he will make an error in the field or struggle in his next at-bat as well.

When a golfer is still upset about a bad shot or a missed putt, he or she will rarely be in the right mindset to make a good swing on the next shot.

Great baseball players are great because they don’t let a strikeout or an error dictate their performance for the rest of a game, or into the following game.

Great basketball players are great because they refuse to allow a missed free throw or turnover adversely impact their future performance.

Great football players are great because they have the ability — and the will — to recover from fumbles and interceptions and confidently carry and pass the football again immediately.

Obviously, purposeful practice, preparation, and repetition play a significant role in the success of any athlete (student, employee, etc.) who achieves greatness.  “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” – Unknown

Great players have short memories.

What to do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” – Dean Smith

Please see related post, Your Failures are Behind You — Move on

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

New Year, New and Improved You

6 Jan

confidence[1]No matter how good you are, everyone has room for improvement.  How will you improve yourself in 2016?  Here are a few thoughts:

Do Something

Challenge yourself to develop a new skill.  Start a new project. If it’s making you better — taking you in a positive direction — continue and improve what you did in 2015.  Commit yourself to self-improvement in some area.  If you’re not satisfied with a certain area of your life, do something about it.  Then, keep doing it… every day.  The cumulative impact will be considerable.

Get Moving

Inactivity is the enemy of productivity.  Get started.  Take action.  Move.  Nothing will change until you get going.  Beginning a new endeavor can seem daunting, but Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

The best and brightest individuals in every field were once beginners.  No one starts as an expert.  The greatest accomplishments all have the same common denominator:  At some point, someone was willing to take the first step toward greatness, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.  American Author Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Be Confident

Believe in yourself.  You have positive attributes.  You have strengths and skills.  Use positive self-talk as a motivator.  Surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging.  Learn to view setbacks as nothing more than learning experiences — steps on the path to success.  “Believe you can and youre halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Risk New Things

You know the “definition” of insanity:  “Doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results.”  Take a chance.  Be open-minded and adventurous.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Go out on a limb — that’s where the fruit is.  Change can be scary, but it is a necessary component of progress.  “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” – Ben Franklin

Stick With It

Creating a better you won’t necessarily be easy.  Some days will be better than others.  There will probably be some obstacles and growing pains along the way.  Be persistent.  Follow your plan and do something to move forward, every day, especially on the “low-motivation” days.  Don’t give up, don’t give in.

Then Be Ready for Big Surprises

You’re as good as you think you are, and as good as you want to be.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How Will You Know If You Never Try?

23 Sep

Man on top of mountain.If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” – John Barrow

I asked you these questions a few months ago:

  • What to you want to do?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • Who do you want to be?

How will you do it, see it, or be it, if you don’t try?

In order to accomplish anything, you’ve got to expect success.

You’ve got to work hardwork smart, and believe in yourself.

But the most important step is TRYING.

Try and succeed.  Try and fail.  Try again.  Just don’t let lack of effort be the reason you don’t succeed.

NO regrets — NO “could’ve,” NO “should’ve,” NO “would’ve.”

Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence, or opportunity, but they fail because they don’t give it all they’ve got.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Invest your time, effort, and energy — chase your dream.  Extreme dedication almost always leads to success.

Don’t let worry, wonder, or doubt cloud your vision of success.

Don’t hold anything back.  Give it your best effort.  Whatever that looks like — on any given day — give it.

You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Give it a shot.

Take a chance

Push yourself.

Challenge yourself.

Step outside your comfort zone.

You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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