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Basketball Mental Aspects – Attitude, the "Right Stuff"

By Dr. James Gels, From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

An important aspect is developing a proper attitude about the game. To become winners, we must recognize how important our teammates are. "United we stand, divided we fall!" We must stick together.

We must work together on offense with good passing, looking for an open teammate. But don't be afraid to shoot! If you are open, take the shot. Part of being a good teammate is scoring and taking good shots! If you miss a shot, forget it...you'll probably make the next one.

Remember: there is no such thing as a perfect game! Michael Jordan has never played a perfect game...he has always missed some shots. So don't get down on yourself if you mess up. Just keep playing hard and things will work out.

None of us is perfect...even the coaches! The refs aren't perfect either... so expect a bad call or two and don't let it get to you. Basketball is not a perfect game. Remember, "a good garden may have some weeds." (John Wooden).

Being a good teammate is playing hard on defense. Go hard for loose balls and rebounds. Learn how to "box-out". Learn to set good picks (screens) on offense, so you can free up a teammate for an easy shot. Being a good teammate means coming to the game rested and playing as hard as you can. It means encouraging your teammates on and off the court. Together you can win!

For you to become champions, you must develop a team "chemistry", or spirit...a respect and trust in each other, that you must begin to form now and develop over the years as you get into high-school.

team chemistry

Many very talented teams never reach their full potential because they lack this chemistry, or team spirit. Many less talented teams have accomplished unthinkable goals by their hard work, desire, and team spirit.

Proper attitude means respect for your teammates and your opponents. Your opponents are trying their best just like you. Never try to "show up" or "trash-talk" your opponents, and don't over-celebrate a basket with too many "high-fives".

When you over-celebrate, you make it seem like the basket was a big deal, and something you didn't really expect to make. Instead, be cool, like it's no big deal, you do it all the time.

Never play "dirty"...it's just not worth it! You only lower yourself by doing it. Play hard, with enthusiasm, and play to win, but play with class. Make your parents and teachers proud.

Don't argue with the referees...they're human and don't always make the right call, but hey, that's life...its not always fair. You just have to make the best of the situation and go on. People will remember you for how you act on the court. When you win, never gloat or rub it in your opponent's face.

When you are on the court, play as hard as you can to win, but when the game is over, it's over! Forget it, it's only basketball! When you lose a game, remember that you can often learn more in losing. You don't have to win a trophy to be a winner!