We’re in the thick of playoff time for high school and college basketball across the country. It is by far the most exciting time of the year. And, I cannot wait to go back to the tournament again to watch some of our kids play live!
But with the excitement of the tournaments brings high expectations, pressure and stress. If you’re coaching you’re probably looking for all sorts of ways to calm the nerves and take the pressure off. And, the best way to do this has nothing to do with basketball. It has nothing to do with visualization, mental preparation or scouting reports.
In this world of competition, scholarships and championships we are all really only chasing one thing. We aren’t chasing success. We’re chasing how we think success is going to make us feel. I had a conversation with a DI basketball player a couple years ago and we were talking about his goals for the upcoming season. Typical things came up like starting and being an all-conference player. But, when I kept asking him why he wanted those things we got down to the real reason.
To feel needed. To feel validated that he was good at something he worked ridiculously hard at.
And when we set ourselves up with expectations that are outside of our control we setup ourselves up for the possibility of major disappointments. Even worse, we let what we do (a basketball player, coach or teacher) define how we feel about ourselves as a human being.
So how do you get around this?
Want to take the pressure off?
If players know, that no matter what — win or lose — you deeply care about them as a person, how do you think that’s going to make them feel about the playoff pressure? The expectations?
Love is the best way to get into a state of flow and drop uncontrollable expectations.
Be present and enjoy the ride.