I just got off the phone with one of our guys who I’ve worked with since he’s been in 6th grade. He’s in his senior year of college and bone spurs have hit at the worst possible time. Frustrating? Absolutely. But we had to figure out what he could and could not control, create more awareness of his thoughts and use this time to train his mind. Once we figure out what we can and cannot control therein lies the opportunity in his basketball injury recovery.
He’s spent the last 15 years of his life working relentlessly on his skills. He is, without a doubt, one of the most skilled players in DI basketball. No question. But, this I see as an opportunity for him to train his mind.
So many times we identify with our thoughts instead of recognizing that they are only thoughts — which can be extremely crippling on the court, in the classroom or the office.
Here are 4 things we’re working to turn a tough situation into an opportunity.
Notice It, Name it, Neutralize It
I got this strategy from a book I’m reading called The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris.
1. Notice the thought, stop and breathe.
2. Name it. “I am having a thought that ______”
3. Neutralize It. Visualize the thought on a cloud and just watch it float away til you can’t see the cloud anymore.
The last step is obviously is going to be tough to do in a game, but when something in practice or maybe even in pregame comes up you can use this technique. If you can get good at the first two steps it’s going to take you a long way.
Create a highlight tape or hire us to put one together for you. This is one of the best mental training tools you can use. When you are watching your game film it’s a form a visualization, which is building confidence for future games.
Controllables versus Uncontrollable
Write out two columns on a sheet of paper. Set a timer for 1-2 minutes and write out everything you can control. Just free write. Set the timer again and write out everything you can’t control. More than anything, this is an exercise to get clear on the things you can and cannot control so you can be more aware of them when they arise. When you have this awareness you can let go of the things you can’t control.
This is a guided visualization track I put together specifically for the wing position, but anyone can use it. As one player put it the other day after practicing before a big game “I stepped out on the floor like I had already been there before. I was so comfortable and totally in the zone”
Download it here