Every player wants to perform at a high level on game day. Great players are always looking for that extra edge. Next Level Basketball Academy recommends four points of emphasis in that area. Are you ready to get better? If yes then commit yourself to the following 4 steps:
1. Be Prepared—Feel Prepared
Okay, this eliminates the idea of a quick solution, because the truth is there is NO quick fix to game day performance. In fact, to perform on game day you must be prepared. How do you prepare? You need to have put in the work on your handles, on your form shooting, on learning moves that create space, on adding to your post series, etc. Players need to spend time on developing their skills and on developing their athletic ability. Click here to check out our player development program at Next Level Basketball. As a current AAU coach, when I scout players I can immediately see the ones who have prepared. Athletic ability can developed or genetic, but basketball skills are only developed from skills training.
So how do you “feel” prepared? It’s simple really: if you spend the hours in the gym, performing proper skills training, you will feel like you have worked harder than everyone else. When you feel this way it gives you confidence to play free. If players don’t feel this way, they tend to play tight and indecisive. What should you do if you don’t feel prepared? Start preparing right now, put in the extra work, and work harder than everyone else. In short, ordering your mind will make you “feel” prepared.
2. Have a pre-game/pre-practice routine
Develop a pre-practice/pre-game routine. This is important for two reasons. Number one – if developed properly, you will be effectively utilizing your time to develop skills. Number two – you will be establishing a pattern for success. A perfect example of this is NBA superstar Stephen Curry. He does an extensive handles and shooting workout before each game. This workout does more than just get him ready for the game, it develops his skills. Which leads to the “feeling” of being prepared. Check out below for a great look at his pre-game routine.
For players in high school or lower we recommend – five minutes of handles workouts, front and back Mikan Drill, two form shooting drills, followed by five minutes of movement shooting drills, ending with five free throws. Do this before every practice and every game.
3. Develop the ability to segment the game
This one may be the hardest for young players to learn. This skill takes MENTAL discipline, something that most players spend zero minutes developing. So what does “segmenting the game” mean? It means having the ability to view the game as 100 mini games as opposed to one large game. How does this help a player? Because it allows the player to be “present”, or in the moment. As a player you can’t worry about the last play because you don’t want to let a negative play affect the next one. Many times as a coach, if a great player has just had a series of bad plays I take him out and tell him to let that series go and focus on what you are going to do on your next series of plays. The last series of plays has ZERO impact on the next series of plays unless you allow it to.
4. Visualize success then visualize failure, then over visualize success
The power of visualization can give players the edge to perform when it matters the most. Many people believe you should only visualize success, however, I believe you must visualize and prepare yourself for everything that will happen during a game. Even the best players will miss a shot or have a turnover. It is crazy to think or plan on a perfect game, as that is not reality. So we believe players must visualize in the following way –
- Think about making great plays and see yourself out-working EVERYONE on the floor
- Think about making a steal, then missing an open jumper, immediately focus on your mindset after the jumper and how you are letting go of the missed shot and focusing on your defensive assignment
- Now think about making a few shots, grabbing some rebounds, and some other good plays
- Next think about a negative play, a player hits a jumper on you, you turn the ball over, etc
- Think about and really focus on what you want your mind to think about AFTER the negative play—PRACTICE THIS
- Finally – end the visualization process with good plays and situations, like you have two free throws with 1 second left and the team is down by one, practice keeping your mind at 100% ease…again practice what your mind thinks about after the play
We hope these 4 techniques will help you achieve your goals this season. We love helping DRIVEN players become more, learn more, achieve more!
CEO/Founder of Next Level Basketball Academy
P.S Found out more about Coach Holliday’s coaching philosophy in our interview with him here!
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