How to tap into being “in the zone” without having to practice




In basketball it’s crucial that we communicate. We have to communicate on help defense, guarding ball screens, and pin downs. But, as individual we have to look inward. We have to look inward to grow. To become more aware of our thoughts, adjust them and be more centered in order to be more focused and play with more flow.

I know as a coach the last thing you’re looking for is 1 more thing that you think you have to fit into practice. If that’s you, I have a solution for you. Instead of having players count during stretching, have them silently count their breath. Instead of holding a stretch and counting to 20 you can have them breath together, in unison.  This is something Phil Jackson used to do with the Bulls and Lakers. He also used to have them hold hands, which I have no idea how he got a group of grown ass men to do.

So if you are doing a static stretch you just have the players count their breath like this.

You count “1” with the first inhale…

“2” with the exhale…

All the way up to 20.  In order to keep everyone on the same page when you are stretching you will want to designate a leader that has the team switch when he gets to 20. He might be a couple breaths ahead or behind some of the rest of the group.  But, when he gets to 20 he can direct them to switch the the next stretch.

Because the goal is not to have everyone end at “20” at the same time. Everyone has their own rhythm. Their own breath. The goal is for each member of the team to be focused on their breath. To look inward and start to become aware of their thoughts. Whether they are emotional, funny, or stressful the goal is to be able to just create more awareness.  And once they start to sit with their thoughts, they start to detach from them and realize that they are completely separate from their thoughts.  For many, this will start to take away the power of their negative thinking patterns, which helps them be more present, more confident and ultimately a better a player and person.

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