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Basketball Life Lessons
Basketball, as is the case with many other team sports, provides lessons that are universal and relatable to all walks of life. The lessons that can be learned through organized basketball translate to essential life lessons.
Working With Others in a Group or Team Setting: THE KEYS TO TEAM SUCCESS
The best basketball teams are the ones that have extremely cohesive parts, players, and coaches. They are close-knit, work well together, feed off each other’s energy, and listen to each other. This group cohesiveness allows them to better respond to adversity and execute better when they are in pressure or crunch time situations on the court. Packer’s coaching legend Vince Lombardi said it best; “Individual commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
The same can be said for the game of life. At many points in life you will find yourself working with teams for whatever career path you choose. It is important to understand how to be a positive piece to the team and ultimately be someone that makes the team better as a whole. Check out what University of Maine at Fort Kent’s All American Joe McCloskey shares on basketball life lessons. This involves learning how to pick your teammates up when they are down and having the ability to find just as much satisfaction in the success of a teammate as you find for the success of yourself. Ultimately, if you learn how to be the best teammate you can possibly be, you are making the team that much more cohesive.
Effort is Rewarded: “THE HARDER YOU WORK THE LUCKIER YOU GET!”
Hard work will always trump talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Despite natural athletic ability or individual physical gifts, the player that works the hardest will achieve the most success on the court. Hard work ALWAYS pays off. The player that is constantly working on his basketball craft and putting in extra shooting drills before and after practice will earn the starting spot over the player that only does the bare minimum to make the team. If you are this type of player, you will have considerable success against the opposing team because you will have out worked your opponent. Having this sort of work ethic will prove successful at every level of basketball, earning you starting spots on your team and possibly leading to collegiate scholarships.
This lesson is applicable to lifelong goals or career goals as well. Being the person that shows up to your job early, stays late, and gives your best effort will more often than not result in some type of reward. This sort of work ethic will gain the attention of the right people and lead to better success in life. Build up a reputation for being someone that is always going to give your best effort and amazing opportunities will present themselves. In the words of the late John Wooden, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing that you made the EFFORT to become the best of which you are capable.”
Confidence is Key:
The best players on the basketball court are the ones that truly believe they are the best. They are the ones that are confident enough in their abilities to seize opportunities rather than worry about what things might go wrong. They omit any doubts in their basketball abilities that they might have with the preparation they put in before game time. By practicing on your basketball skills to the point where you have mastered them, then there should be nothing to worry about when the lights come on. Knowing you can get by your defender and score with the moves you’ve practiced is half the battle, the other half is just executing it. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the better basketball player you will become.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Here, Helen Keller is establishing that confidence and having a positive mindset can help you accomplish great things in life. Being optimistic in what you can accomplish is the first step. Take for example, an interview for your dream job. If fully prepared for this interview, then those nervous “butterflies” will most likely be at a minimum. If you know that you have done everything you can to be ready for that situation, then you can relax, exude the confidence you have in yourself, and let your preparation take care of the rest. Research has shown that participation in sports such as basketball can lead to greater personal confidence and self esteem in an individual along with ability to build better peer relationships. People innately respond to confident people because they feel that they can trust someone that believes in themselves. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you as well.
To sum up:
- Help your team become the best by being the best teammate.
- Effort is in your hands. Push yourself to work harder than you ever thought you could.
- Believe in yourself and others will have confidence in you.
Get started with your basketball life lessons and contact a basketball trainer near you.
-Contributed by Keith Hartle
BasketballTrainer.com Contributor & Former Small College Player
The Flu and Basketball
Cold and flu season is quickly approaching, and for many basketball players this is a huge concern! Some people and players are used to being affected by this seasonal attack on immunity and almost expect it to happen to them. However, by preparing now and focusing on strategically building up your immune system, you can sail through the fall and winter months without having to miss a basketball workout, practice or game because of these pesky illnesses.
According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC), peak flu months start in October and last all the way through February, with February being the month of highest infection. February is certainly not a good time for basketball players to get sick considering that it’s nearing the end of the season and all of the most important games occur during this time!
Between 5%-20% of the American population will contract the cold or flu each year, and the only way to ensure that you don’t fall into that statistic is to prepare, strategize and plan on not getting sick.
Threats against the Immune System This Basketball Season
Bacteria and viruses are the main pathogen threats against the immune system that every basketball player has to be conscious of throughout the season. Both cause similar symptoms and will leave you hanging out on the sidelines, but that’s where the similarities end.
Bacteria are alive and are single-celled organisms that can wreak havoc on your health. Have you ever suffered from one of those nasty sinus infections? These are usually caused by bacteria and are easily spread from person to person. Taking regular sanitary measures like washing your hands after touching the ball all practice long or picking up weights after people is definitely a smart idea!
Unlike bacteria, viruses are not alive; they are tiny fragments of DNA that latch onto healthy cells and cause duplication which is how and why they spread so rapidly throughout the body if not treated properly.
Viruses are a bit more serious in nature than bacteria, so it’s a good rule to follow clean sanitation practices in the basketball locker room, weight room and in general if you want to avoid either of these threats against the immune system.
What is the difference between the cold and flu?
The common cold is much milder in nature than the flu. Typically caused by the rhinovirus, the cold can last up to two weeks and is accompanied by coughing, sneezing, sore throat, mild fever, body aches and fatigue.
On the other hand, the flu is much more serious than the common cold since it can turn into more serious health problems quickly and is caused by the Influenza A and B viruses. Lasting up to two or three weeks, the flu is generally accompanied by symptoms like coughing, fever, severe fatigue, body aches, sore throat, runny nose and if not treated properly can escalate into more serious conditions like pneumonia.
What role does the immune system play in the body?
The immune system is our body’s natural defense against these common ailments and is capable of dealing with the constant barrage of harmful bacteria and viruses when working optimally.
A healthy immune system is capable of providing several benefits to the body including:
- Preventing bacteria and viruses from duplicating
- Seeking out and eliminating bacteria and viruses that do make it pass the front line of immune defense
- Creating a natural barrier against any harmful microorganism
- Destructing damaged cells in a process known as ‘apoptosis’
What are the different blood cells that make up the immune system?
The immune system is a complex network of specialized cells, proteins, tissues, and organs that all work together to protect you from anything that could be potentially damaging to the body. Most of us have heard of white blood cells (leukocytes), and while they do make up the majority of the cells in the immune system, there are also two other types of blood cells that actually perform the ‘seek out and destroy’ missions in the body.
- Phagocytes – surfing throughout the body eating up foreign organisms similar to the guy in Pac-Man, these are especially important blood cells for the immune system in that they are like the guard dogs so to speak.
- Lymphocytes – created in bone marrow, these blood cells are commonly referred to as “smart cells” in that they can actually identify the more sneaky bacteria and viruses that can be hiding in the body. They can also remember pathogens that have made you sick in the past and target those specifically to avoid a reoccurrence. Finally, these same cells can convert into what are known as T-cells and destroy the microbes that the lymphocytes have identified as harmful. There’s no escaping these intelligent immune cells when they are in full force!
Lifestyle Enemies of a Healthy Immune System
As you prepare for the upcoming cold and flu season, it’s important to know what exactly causes a weakened immune system. Daily lifestyle and diet habits can make or break your body’s ability to fight off infection efficiently. As you go about the basketball season, be sure that you try to keep these six things to a minimum.
- Lack of or over exercise – we all know that exercising is important for healthy weight management and cardiovascular health, but its effect on the immune system might come as a surprise to some. In fact, according to a study conducted at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, it was found that women who exercised in an aerobics class for five days a week caught half the number of cold and infections than those who only stretched. On the other hand, too much strenuous activity can pose a problem. Fortunately, basketball players are conditioned to be able to withstand longer periods of rigorous activity, however it’s important to remember to get your rest and relaxation and maintain balance in order to keep your immune system from becoming weakened due to physical exhaustion.
- Lack of Sleep – sleep is the primetime for the body being able to repair and regenerate from the day’s activities, so if you have accrued sleep debt from several sleepless nights, be sure that you make this a priority because the body is not going to be able to fight off bacteria and viruses if you are lacking in this department.
- Excessive Stress – stress comes in many forms, but by not dealing with it nor making an effort to keep your stress levels to a minimum during basketball season—you are opening yourself up for illness. A strong immune system starts with a peaceful, relaxed and well rested body, mind and spirit. Don’t leave any room in your life for unnecessary stress if you want to bypass the cold and flu this season.
- Excessive Sugar Intake – artificial sugars are one of our immune system’s greatest enemies! Excessive sugar intake causes over acidity in the body which leads to a compromised immune system unable to protect you efficiently.
- Too high or too low body fat percentage – a healthy body fat percentage is linked to a healthy immune system since healthy fats and fat metabolism play a huge role in hormonal balance in the body. If you are under or overweight, than your immune system will be more susceptible to infections.
- Lack of nutritional supplementation – it’s no secret that nutritional supplements give our bodies a much needed boost and during the cold and flu season if you decide to skip out on adding some extra nutrients into your daily regimen you might be skipping out on a few basketball practices or games as well!
What foods should I eat for a strong immune system?
A healthy immune system certainly starts in the kitchen! What you decide to fuel your body with all year long will either build up or tear down your immunity.
A diet rich in antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy fats are all able to give your body what it needs to build a solid foundation of efficient immunity as a basketball player.
Basketball players need even extra nutrition since the physical toll taken each day on the body can leave the immune system depleted, so be sure to make good food choices every single day!
- Dark green leafy vegetables – full of minerals and other essential nutrients, dark green leafy vegetables are the most nutritious food that you can eat if you want to build a strong immune system.
- Citrus fruits – be sure to pack your day with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, tamarinds – your immune system loves all the extra Vitamin C!
- Carrots – an ideal source of carotenoids like beta carotene which support the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract, making it more difficult for pathogens to enter the bloodstream and cause infections.
- Tomatoes – loaded with lycopene and more Vitamin C, cooked tomatoes diminish free radical damage to immune cells making them healthier and stronger.
- Kefir – a natural probiotic drink, kefir builds up immunity by providing healthy bacteria to the intestinal tract that has been shown to reduce the number of naturally occurring bad bacteria that reside in the gut. Bad intestinal bacteria is known for causing problems with digestion and immunity, so kefir is a great way to boost your health!
- Fish – abundant in omega fatty acids, fish are a great way to reduce inflammation in the body which allows the immune system to work better and harder to ocus on invading pathogens.
Should I get a flu shot?
The staff here at BasketballTrainer.com has varying opinions on this subject but all agree this is a personal decision that you should rely strongly upon your doctor for.
What supplements and herbs should I be taking to build up my immunity?
- Multi-vitamin – a daily multivitamin is the best place to start if you want to protect yourself from catching anything this cold and flu season. Filling in those nutritional gaps with a daily multi-vitamin and multi-mineral product will help you do just that! Read our article on choosing the right multivitamin to help you decide on which one to go with to support your immune boosting goals.
- Medicinal mushrooms – full of calcium, selenium, iron, B-complex vitamins, Vitamins C and D – certain species of medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps, reishi, shiitake, and maitake are powerful immune agents as they contain active immune heightening compounds. They are typically taken in capsule form and you can find them at your local health foods store.
- Oregano – a strong antioxidant and antibacterial herb, oregano should be in every basketball player’s first aid cabinet to take soon as any sign of bacterial infection starts. Oregano can be taken in capsule form as a liquid tincture to mix into water. You can also use Oregano essential oil to inhale the steam for sinus infections.
- Elderberry – possesses strong immune boosting, anti-viral, and antioxidant properties. Elderberry has been known to stop the influenza virus dead in its tracks by increasing cytokine production. Elderberry can be taken in capsule form or is often found in homeopathic cough syrup formulations.
- Echinacea – this powerful herb is known for its ability to turn on the immune response and stimulating the production of healing anti-bodies known as immunoglobulin. A study conducted at the University of Connecticut found that Echinacea decreased the odds of contracting the common cold or flu by almost 60%! Echinacea can be taken in capsule form or drank as a tea.
- Garlic – garlic has been touted for several years as being excellent in supporting a health heart, however, recent studies suggest that supplementing with aged garlic extract may trigger a positive immune response and help decrease the duration of the common cold or flu by increasing the number of immune cells in the body. Garlic can be crushed and ingested on a spoon followed by a full glass of water or taken in capsule form.
- Probiotics – provide the body with good bacteria that build up immunity in the intestinal tract by decreasing the number of bad bacteria that wreak havoc on health. Probiotics are a must have for anyone wanting to build up their tolerance against common bacterial infections and digestive issues.
With the cold and flu season quickly approaching, it’s time to take control of your health to protect yourself from sidelining illness. By eliminating certain lifestyle habits and replacing them with healthier habits, food choices and nutritional supplement support, you are setting yourself up for success. Taking action now to build up your overall health will help you to forego the inconvenience of the cold or flu this basketball season and onto more playing time and wins in the record book!
What Is Protein and Why Is It Important for Basketball Players?
Proteins are chains of molecules that are vital to life. Named more than 150 years ago after the Greek word proteios (meaning of “prime importance”), proteins have been studied and found to hold the answers to many physiological questions about the human body.
Protein is the second must abundant substance in the body, aside from water, and makes up roughly 18-20% of a person’s total body weight. In fact, it can be found in every single one of the trillions of cells that make up the human body.
Protein is a macronutrient along with carbohydrates and fats, meaning that it provides calories and energy for the body –providing 4 calories of energy for every gram consumed.
Unlike healthy carbohydrates, which mostly benefit the metabolic system; protein plays a key role in several functions of the body including: immune function, achieving a healthy pH balance, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, transporting nutrients, supporting growth of muscles and maintaining healthy muscles, as well as building enzymes, hormones and other important chemical compounds in the body.
As you can see, protein’s role in the body is much broader than simply supporting healthy muscles which is why it’s so important to take this macronutrient seriously!
What are the building blocks of proteins?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are classified as either essential amino acids or non-essential amino acids. The body can make about half of the 20 amino acids that it needs which are known as the non-essential amino acids. The other 10 that the body cannot product on its own, known as essential amino acids, must be attained through diet and supplementation in order to keep up with the demands of a basketball body.
There are three essential amino acids that are classified as ‘branched chain amino acids’, more popularly referred to as BCAA’s. These three amino acids include L-leucine, L-isoleucine and L-valine, which are particularly important to basketball players and athletes as they play a big role in muscle recovery and new muscle tissue synthesis.
L-arginine is another essential amino acid that is popular for being the pre-cursor to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator meaning that it will cause the blood vessels to expand and allow for increased total blood circulation to the entire body. Where blood flows, so do nutrients, vitamins and minerals for faster, more effective recovery. As L-arginine converts into nitric oxide, the stimulation of the release of the human growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary gland also which means that the body is going to be able to grow bigger, stronger muscle mass in much less time than someone who is deficient in this particular amino acid.
Amino acids are what make protein so unique. You can attain all of these amino acids through your diet, however many people do choose to add nutritional supplementation in order to give themselves a natural, healthy protein boost. This can be beneficial especially after a longer than normal workout or on those days when you feel like you are dragging because of consecutive intense training days. It’s always better to focus on taking a full amino acid profile nutritional supplement rather than isolating specific amino acids since this can cause an imbalance in overall levels overtime.
Why is protein so important for basketball players?
The lifestyle of a basketball player is incredibly demanding. Aside from being under loads of stress and pressure to maintain good grades and healthy personal and professional relationships, the body must undergo hours of physical wear and tear so to speak. The entire body is left depleted often after basketball workouts, practices and games and is need of important protein replenishment. Without the right amount of protein to support your basketball body, you will be left with a weakened immune system, less muscle mass, as well as being more likely to fill your diet with too many carbohydrates and fats which can lead to an undesirable body fat percentage.
On the other hand, players who are getting enough quality protein each day in their diets will more easily build strong, lean muscles in the weight room as well as maintaining an ideal body fat percentage to support their endurance efforts out on the court. Basketball weight training is essential to college basketball dreams and protein fuels that growth and dream.
Basketball players ought to keep a close watch on their daily protein intake to build up a healthy body and to help the body recover after intense physical activity. Keeping a food journal is an easy way to track your exact protein amounts and also the timing of your protein consumption throughout the day.
How much protein do basketball players need?
You might be wondering exactly how much protein you should be getting as a basketball player every day.
Most nutritionists and dieticians are going to recommend that you reserve at least 20% of your daily diet for your protein consumption. However, the easiest way to determine exactly how much you should be getting is based upon body weight.
Here is a simple formulation that can help you set a daily target goal:
Take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. Then, multiply your body weight in kilograms by 1.8 to get the number of grams of protein per day you should strive for.
Also note, a recent Canadian study determined that highly active athletes should be consuming a little bit more than the average person, at anywhere from 1.8-2.8 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight. 
Many athletes thrive on a slightly higher protein intake than a person who is only moderately active or sedentary considering that athletes are constantly having to rest and recover their muscles and body.
What types of protein should basketball players consume?
After calculating the minimum amount of protein you should be consuming each day, go ahead and jot it down in your food journal as you begin tracking your daily intake to ensure that you’re getting enough.
You can easily get enough protein each day from your diet.
Some proteins are classified as ‘complete proteins’, while others are known as being ‘incomplete proteins’. Complete proteins are sources that contain a full profile of amino acids, while the incomplete proteins contain only a few of the amino acids necessary for basic bodily functions. It’s important that you get plenty of complete proteins from both animal protein choices and some plant-based choices like quinoa, hemp, chia and brown rice.
American culture tends to lean towards animal proteins as primary sources, however in order to lead the healthiest lifestyle possible, you are going to want to mix up your daily protein intake with both animal and plant-based sources.
Stick with most of your animal protein choices coming from sources like turkey, chicken, fish and eggs. If you’re going to go for beef or pork, just be sure that you pick the leanest cuts possible, otherwise the fat content of those meats can ultimately make them not worth adding into your healthy basketball diet.
Plant-based sources of foods can provide with you just as much protein as animal sources can along with a full amino acid profile and much less fat. Go for whole foods like quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seed, chia seed, soy, Ezekiel bread, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and brown rice to stay on top of your protein needs.
What about protein shakes, drinks and bars supplemented into the diet?
While it is very possible for most of your daily protein needs to be met through your actual food sources, you’ll find that most highly active people still choose to supplement protein into their diets through shake mixes, pre-made drinks and bars.
The great thing about supplementing protein into diet like this is that there are some really quality products out there that can give you 20 or more grams of protein in one single serving.
Most athletes add in the protein powder mixes, because they are delicious, lower sugar and can be taken on-the-go and simply mixed with your choice of water, milk or a milk alternative. Some of the shake formulations are complete meal replacements featuring vitamins, minerals and superfoods and superfruits while other products are just protein. Still others look to smoothies to add or maintain weight in baksetball training. Here is a good resource for that: Basketball Smoothie Recipe. It’s all in what you feel like you need, but these can be a smart way to go to support your basketball protein needs!
A few of my top protein shake mixes are:
- Genesis PURE’s Complete Shake (http://www.genesispure.com/products/display/2087/complete-shake)
- Genesis PURE’s Sports Recovery Shake (http://www.genesispure.com/products/display/2082/recovery)
- Vega Sport Performance Protein (http://vegasport.com/product/performance-protein/)
- Sun Warrior Warrior Blend (http://www.sunwarrior.com/store/)
Protein bars are another convenient, easy way to get in extra protein when you need it most! Be careful to double check the sugar content of the bars you are consuming, because many brands contain anywhere from 15 to 24 grams of sugar per single bar, which takes away from the nutritional value of the protein content. Other than that, be sure to fill your sports bag with them, because they can be an ideal mid-practice snack or even a quick pre-workout boost that you are needing to fuel your body for practice or a game.
A couple of my favorite healthy protein bars include:
- Quest Bars (http://www.questnutrition.com/protein-bars/)
- Power Crunch Bars (http://powercrunch.com/products/energy-bars/original/)
- Vega Sport Protein Bars (http://vegasport.com/product/protein-bar/)
What is the difference between Whey, Casein, Natural and Blends of Proteins?
When you walk into any nutritional supplement store like the Vitamin Shoppe or GNC, you will notice that there are different types of protein powders to choose from which can be very confusing.
The distinct difference between the different kinds is that whey and casein are derived from cow as a by-product of cheese, while natural proteins come from plant-based sources like quinoa, soy, hemp, chia, brown rice and other grains and sprouts. So if you lead a more plant-based diet, the obvious choice is to stick with the natural proteins.
You will notice that most whey protein these days is hydrolyzed whey, which basically means that it is partially pre-digested for faster assimilation and absorption in the body. Many heavy weight lifters like to use whey so that they can gain an almost instant protein boost any time they might need it.
On the other hand, casein protein is a more slowly digested and absorbed protein that many athletes will take before bedtime so that the body has protein to utilize over the course of the night. Not too many people actually use just casein by itself aside from athletes who are heavy weight lifters, but it is more popular for athletes to use casein in general if it is in a protein blend.
Blended proteins are pretty straightforward and are not specific to the milk derived or plant-based protein sources. You can find whey and casein blends, as well as natural protein blends that combine the above mentioned proteins together as well. Your natural blended proteins are also going to be your complete meal replacement products, which are a very wise choice since they can provide the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that protein specific supplements cannot.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at the University of Texas Medical found that compared to whey, a combination of soy (25%), casein (50%), and whey (25%) after a weight-training session delivered amino acids to muscles for an hour longer. This suggests that muscle building goes on for a longer period of time with the blended formulations then with whey by itself.
Protein is a big part of our society, while some people are consuming too much, others not enough. As a basketball player, it’s your responsibility to know exactly how much protein you are getting each day to meet your needs. Start by calculating what you need and then begin to keep track and consider your sources. Are you consuming too much or too little? Could you benefit from adding more plant-based or animal sources of protein into your diet? Do you think that keeping protein supplements handy might enable you to stay on top of your daily intake in situations where you need a boost? All of these are things to start considering as you refine your basketball diet to help you build a strong, lean body that can make you a better basketball player and athlete!
Get Started Adding Quality Basketball Protein To Your Diet Today!
 Nutrition Concepts and Controversies, pgs. 186-194
The Coachable Basketball Player
Coachable basketball players are players that are capable of giving respect, keeping a positive attitude, and displaying excellent behavior traits in order to develop their basketball skills for the greater benefit of the team. Are you a coachable basketball player?
With countless hours spent practicing, working out and playing, it can be tough to always maintain the right attitude necessary to learn, grow and improve as a player. Sometimes, it can be difficult to have to hear about the mistakes and errors made out on the court – especially if it’s something that you’ve been working on for some time like your shooting footwork or overhead passes and you either thought that you had improved or you simply can’t seem to execute the way your coach is wanting you to.
Whatever the case may be, keeping a positive attitude is half the battle so that you don’t let the stress and pressure of it all overcome you. The other important thing to keep in mind is to always display coachable traits so that you can become the best basketball player possible and your coaches will trust and respect you.
It doesn’t matter if you are the most talented and skilled player on the team, if you don’t have a consistently coachable spirit than you are not going to be effective as a leader and it’s likely that your coaching staff and teammates won’t enjoy working and playing with you as much as they should.
Being a coachable basketball player has many great benefits and rewarding potential like more playing time, better relationships with your coaches and teammates, accelerated learning, less stress and contributing to a stronger, more bonded team.
The following is a checklist of 5 traits of a coachable basketball player so that you can be sure that you are exemplifying behavior that will make you a great asset to your coaches and team.
1. Listen more, talk less
You know those players that seem to always have something to say about everything regardless of whether it’s in response to a reprimand or when they make a good play? Typically those players are not very good listeners and tend to go about simply running their mouths for the sake of hearing themselves talk. This is not a good example of a coachable player, in fact, just the opposite type of player is ideal. By listening more and talking less you are showing that you believe what your coaches have to say is more important and you are more likely to retain what they are teaching you than if you are always talking while they are or interrupting them.
2. Be willing to take personal responsibility
It’s not always easy to take personal responsibility whether in life or on the basketball court. It’s especially challenging when coming into practice after a lousy game performance where you missed most of your free throws or allowed your player too many offensive points that was a big part in costing your team the game. Those are the moments that are tough to swallow knowing that you might have let some people down. Coachable players understand that this is all part of the self-development process as an athlete and you have to be willing to take the good times with the bad. You can’t always accept the glory without being able to tough out the failures as well. Taking personal responsibility for your daily performance shows your coaches that you are able to be realistic for where you are really at with your skills and within your role on the basketball team.
3. Focus on yourself, not others
This trait goes along with the previous one in that the most coachable players are always focusing on inner reflection rather than looking to their coaches and their teammates to justify their behavior or performance. Instead of worrying about your point guard who seems to always turn the ball over on every other play or your post player who refuses to use the backboard and has a frustratingly low shooting percentage, simply spend your time thinking about the areas that you need to improve. The best, more effective players in the game of basketball are the ones who focus on their performance and responsibilities so much that in turn everyone out on the court playing with them seem to get better when they are out on the floor. This trait certainly doesn’t translate into being selfish with the ball or completely self-centered as person, but it does mean that it’s more respectable to not go around pointing fingers at everyone else all the time when thing aren’t going right.
4. Take time to approach your coach directly
Has your coach ever said something to you during practice that didn’t quite make sense or that you didn’t completely catch? Coachable players understand that communication is key to success and when there is a misunderstanding between coach and player it’s not just the coach’s responsibility to ensure that everything is clear from a communication aspect. Your coach will respect you more if you take the time to show up to practice early or stay late to drop by their office to keep lines of communication open. It can be an incredibly difficult challenge for coaches to effectively communicate to all players on the team at once during an open practice or game, which is why coachable players understand that it’s their job to close the gap and make time to approach their coach directly. This trait will eliminate misunderstandings and confusion and you might even get your coach to spend extra time with you to explain what their expectations are of you or to simply review a play that you aren’t quite executing properly. Coaches are always willing to invest extra time in dedicated and coachable players who are willing to spend one-on-one time with them.
5. Always hear instruction, not criticism
This is one of the most difficult traits to develop as you become a coachable basketball player. It’s easy to think that after the 5th time of your coach or teammate coming to you about the same issue that you are simply being criticized for your hard efforts. By keeping everything in a positive perspective and remembering that you can’t always take tone of voice, facial expressions and other bodily language so literally you will be happier. Sometimes, your coaches and teammates are going to say things that might come across as abrupt and critical, but so long as you keeping in mind that they are all human and you choose to always hear instruction over criticism you will soar as a coachable basketball player. Also, remember that you coaches have lives outside of the team so it is likely that they might be having a hard day and aren’t being quite as diplomatic during practice with the way they say things, this is where the coachable players will cut them some slack and understand that at the end of the day it’s about instruction to becoming the best player possible at all times.
Some players come by being a coachable basketball player naturally, while others struggle more in certain areas. It’s safe to assume that everyone could take some time reevaluating their coachability and pick out a trait or two above to hone in and really work on in the upcoming season. By focusing on being coachable as much as you do your skill development, you will be surprised at how much more smoothly everything will go for you as you gain great respect from your coach and teammates by first showing respect and setting a good example for everyone!
Stress is one of the leading contributing root causes of poor health for most Americans. In fact, it is linked to all six of the leading causes of death in the United States including heart disease, cancer, liver diseases, lung diseases and even suicide.
While most basketball players are healthy enough to not have to worry about the above listed chronic conditions, stress can still have a significantly negative impact on players who feel overloaded between the demands of school, work, family, romantic relationships and performing well on the court.
Even chronically low levels of stress can lead to poor sleeping patterns, anger, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, as well as a lowered immune system. Basketball players who feel more stressed are often likely to suffer from the cold, flu and allergies throughout the season.
Stress targets the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the human body which means that basketball players are constantly under attack from all angles of life in order to maintain balance between these three aspects of well-being.
Mental, physical and emotional well-being are all interconnected so it’s often that if a player is suffering from severe stress in one of these areas the other two will suffer. For example, final exam week is a time of great mental and emotional stress which can mean that physically players may not perform at their best during practice because of the stressful mental distractions of worrying about studying for and passing their tests. Likewise, when a basketball player is physically exhausted or even nursing an injury, their efforts in the classroom or at work are more likely to suffer as well.
Being a part of a competitive basketball team is stressful in itself. From competing for more playing time to memorizing and executing plays perfectly, there is a lot that players have to focus on and worry about in order to develop their skills enough to become a great asset to their team. Not to mention the stress that comes with trying to perform consistently at a level on the court and in the classroom that will get them noticed by college recruiters and land them that college basketball scholarship they’ve been dreaming of for years.
Many people believe that a person’s attitude has a lot to do with their daily levels of stress. The mind is an incredibly powerful force and if you can conquer your thought processes and mental stress as a player than the emotional and physical sides are likely to follow suit for an overall peaceful and stable life on and off the basketball court.
I’m going to share with you 7 proven steps to help you develop a stress-busting attitude no matter what you may be facing in order to bring more balance to your life as basketball player and all the responsibilities that it entails.
Step 1: Become an Optimist
Optimism can take you very far in life. The way you view and deal with challenging situations can make all the difference in how you respond and sometimes even contribute to the outcome. Rather than always seeing the glass half empty, strive to be someone who sees the glass half full at all times. Basketball season comes with many challenging situations personally and as a team. Competing for positions, battling injury and sickness, dealing with tough losses and sometimes struggling to get along with difficult teammates or even a coach can leave a player feeling rather pessimistic; but, if you focus on the good things and believe that the negative will turn to positive and work towards your ultimate benefit than life will be more of a breeze than a struggle.
Step 2: Listen to Your Self-Talk
As you go throughout your day you will notice that you are always talking to yourself. Sometimes what you are saying is positive and sometimes it’s negative. By beginning to pay closer attention to the way you are talking to yourself you can gain a great idea of why you tend be more positive or negative in general. Your self-talk should be positive, encouraging and uplifting at all times in order to make yourself feel confident, empowered and ready to deal with the everyday challenges you will face as a basketball player and student. If you can’t be your biggest fan, than who will be?
Step 3: Ask Better Questions as You Reflect
Reflecting upon the questions you are asking yourself throughout the day when you face difficult situations takes self-talk a step further. It’s easy to fall into a negative, stress inducing pattern of beating ourselves up with self-defeating questions like, “Why do I always miss my second free throw?” or “Why do I always have to mess up that play?” Instead, ask yourself questions that are going to help you overcome the situation or circumstance like “What do I need to learn from my failed attempts to make it better the next time?” or “How can I adjust my form and visualize my shots going in so that I can improve my free throw percentage?” These are the kinds of questions that are focused on the positive and are going to get you much better results.
Step 4: Use Daily Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are one of the most powerful tools that you can equip yourself with as a competitor to overcome adversity and stress. Affirmations are things that we believe and they become imprinted on our subconscious mind, so regardless of whether you are consciously thinking a positive or negative thought at the time, what your subconscious believes is typically how you will behave when you are faced with stress. For example, if you believe that you are not a good defender in your mind, than your emotions and physical body will limit themselves to your affirmative belief. Employing daily positive affirmations can take you to the next level as a competitor. A good way to start using them is to make a list of 3-5 statements that are going to begin changing your subconscious mind for the better. Try powerful statements like, “I am blessed with an athletic body and gift that I use daily to the best of my abilities!” or “Every day in every way I am getting better and better as a basketball player.” You can see how these positive affirmations will you help you bust any stress you have and take you on to success.
Step 5: Set Positive, Realistic Goals
Learning to set positive goals is a great way to build your self-esteem and confidence throughout the basketball seasons. Remember to use positive words, be realistic and to keep everything in the present tense. Whether you want to increase your shooting percentage, decrease your turnovers or up your assists – keeping these things at the forefront of your mind will keep you motivated, focused and less likely to be stressing out about all the outside factors in life that can cause worry and tension.
Step 6: Practice Positive Visualizations
While thinking positive thoughts is incredibly powerful, putting energy into positive visualizations can bring success as well. How about picturing yourself hitting the game winning shot before you even take it, or how about seeing yourself shutting down the other teams’ best player? If you can create visualization in your mind then technically you already are experiencing the emotions that come with the success of the moment. It won’t be a surprise or simply a chance of luck, instead you will succeed out on the court because you expect to! Your mind is an incredibly powerful tool, so get creative and put it to work—your imagination is your friend during times of stress.
Step 7: Laugh Longer and More Often
Lightening up for more laughter and humor throughout your day no matter how hectic it may seem may be just what you need to take off that stressful edge. In fact, making time to laugh often is the most powerful stress-buster around. Research and studies are also now showing that laughing has the potential to boost the immune system as well considering that stress levels and immunity do go hand-in-hand.
Life is always going to be a challenge regardless of whether you are playing basketball or not. The important thing to remember is that you have more power over the outcome of each day and your attitude than you might think! By following the seven steps above to busting stress as a basketball player you will be happy to find that your days will flow with more ease and you won’t force yourself to spend so much time being pessimistic, focusing on the negative and beating lf or others up over small mistakes. The less stressed and happier you are on a daily basis, the closer you are to reaching your basketball dreams and goals in life.
Don’t let challenges, obstacles, difficult people and situations get in your way of living a low-stress and peaceful life – it’s simply not worth it!