By Alan Stein of Pure Sweat Basketball A great resource for basketball coaches and to share with your players.
A winner’s mentality is a focused form of confidence. And confidence must be earned through demonstrated performance, discipline, effort, and consistency. A winner’s mentality comes from a daily commitment to excellence. You can’t just wake up and have a winner’s mentality, you have to earn it.
The fascinating part is, confidence is contagious. Unfortunately so is a lack of confidence. You work hard, smart, and consistently… and you win more often than not. The more you win, the higher your confidence. The winner’s mentality feeds itself.
A winner’s mentality also means that you are more focused on what you do than on what your opponent does. Winners focus on what they can control:
As Coach John Wooden once said, “Don’t worry about them, let them worry about you.” That my friends, is a winner’s mentality!
Being a winner is believing that on any given night, you can beat anyone. But it is also being humble enough to admit that on any given night, anyone can beat you.
Most importantly, teams with a winner’s mentality only care about one thing – winning. No personal agendas. The team always comes first. Every player (and coach) on the team knows their role, accepts their role, takes pride in their role, and fulfills their role to the best of their ability – no exceptions.
Play Through Adversity
Do you want the good news or the bad news?
The bad news? Every team will experience some form of adversity… every game. It’s inevitable.
The good news? “If handled correctly, adversity can be the prerequisite to great things.”
You must embrace adversity. Don’t expect anything to be easy. Assume the other team will go on runs, that’s part of the game. Expect that your team will go through shooting slumps, that’s part of the game as well. You obviously want to do your best to prevent both, but just know they will happen!
Do you think a boxer goes into the ring thinking he’s not going to get hit? Of course not. He knows he’s going to get punched. Same is true in hoops. Expect the ‘punch.’ And keep fighting!
Now, when the other team goes on a run or your team goes in a slump, follow this simple advice:
“When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging.”
Opponents’ runs and your slumps are often caused because you stop doing the little things. Every player needs to immediately focus on being solid:
• Making the right play on both ends of the floor.
• Making the easy pass.
• Boxing out on every shot.
• Setting solid screens.
• Running the floor in both directions.
• Hustling on and off the floor during time-outs.
• Having good body language and eye contact with your coach.
• Contesting all shots.
In many instances, a recommitment to being solid will end the adversity and turn things back around!
Lastly, the key to both the winner’s mentality and to playing through adversity is mental toughness. Many coaches define mental toughness as the ability to tolerate physical discomfort or screaming expletives. But I disagree.
Mental toughness is simply the ability to Play Present. To focus on what you have 100% control over – your effort and
your attitude. To focus on the next play. To focus on the process of winning, not the outcome. When you Play Present, you maximize your potential.