I’ve spent a lot of time this summer working with a player who most likely will be in the NBA next year. You’ve definitely seen him play on TV, but since the NCAA has a ton of ridiculous rules I can’t really tell you who it is.
We’ve been working on his individual skills, but just as important working on training his mind. And, if you’re a regular reader this you know I’m a huge fan of mindfulness meditation for mental training.
We were working out the other day at UCLA and he was not shooting the ball well at all. And, he asked a great question. How do I get through these shooting slumps?
My answer was shoot 1 shot at time. We use the phrase “1 for 1” in shooting workouts to remind guys that they can only control what is right in front of them. So many times our shooting slumps get extended longer than they should is we are mentally stuck in the past. We are letting the first 10 misses affect our focus. Mentally our mind is subconsciously still focused on those misses when instead it should be locked in on the one shot they are taking right now.
I’ve been meditating almost every for over 2 years now, and while I don’t play basketball (5 on 5) anymore I do golf once in awhile. Well, I try. But, what I have noticed is that when I golf it’s pretty unbelievable what meditation has done to my focus. It is so much easier to completely focused on each drive, chip or putt. I’ve been training my mind to be present in everything that I do.
That’s why meditation is so powerful for basketball — or anyone trying to get an edge. Practicing meditation is training your mind to locked in on the present moment or task at hand to optimize your mental performance. But it’s something that you have to do consistently. You can’t just do it before games or when you feel like you’re in a slump. When you practice consistently you are literally changing the make up of your brain and making focus a habit.