Learn the basics of how to enter the zone by developing your mental skills

Basketball is a multifaceted sport. To be the best you can be, and increase your basketball skills, you have to develop your physical game as well as mental. Many players did not have a chance to learn the fundamentals of the mental side of basketball due to emphasis on physical talent and physique development. The common thinking among many coaches and players revolves around a belief that a player is born with mental game skills. Some very talented players experience distracted mind, on and off the court, and are not exposed to the tools that help to develop a stellar mental game.

Developing a mental game ultimately leads towards an ability to enter the Zone at will and help the whole team play better. To be clear, developing a strong mental game is an individual process. It does not mean that you need to be in a perfect mood, or consistently have a good day, or experience complete no-thinking and effortless movements all the time. No, it means that you will be ready to perform when it’s time to perform with the best of your ability that you have at that time. If you feel tired that day, you will give 100% of what you got. If your mind was distracted, you will still find a way to refocus and be present on the basketball court.

Part of the mental game is your emotional state during the game. You can, and you should, work on your emotional processing off the court as well to be ready for the game time. Mental game includes working on processing of your emotions as well as improving concentration, confidence, ability to perform under pressure, especially when you are not feeling comfortable and things are not going as planned.

Today’s Tip for Improving Your Mental Game: Proper Breathing Technique

To have an amazing mental focus player should learn breath work. Proper breathing is one of the keys to having a solid mental game. How many of you were taught how to breathe in a way to feel more grounded and have more powerful presence on the court?

Proper breathing technique involves using your diaphragm. This type of breathing involves concentration on your breath and calming of your thoughts. It is a focusing exercise at the same time. Just focusing on your breath tends to calm your mind. Maybe not at first try, but after some  practice you will start to calm your mind and prepare yourself for grand performance with better mindset.

Your breath is one of your best friends when it comes to learning how to enter the states of flow, otherwise referred to as the zone. How do you enter the zone? Well, there are two major schools of thought. One school believes that the Zone happens randomly, and the other one believes that the Zone could be accessed at will. Both appear to be true. I will write another post about those two schools.

Chance of entering the Zone increases for every player that works hard on physical, mental and emotional skills. It might seem like a long shot to command peak performance, however, there is a clear advantage from strengthening your mental game and increasing your chances of playing in the Zone, and being the best basketball player you can be.

In my in-person and online sessions, I teach players to use breathing techniques, focusing exercises, and mindful movement in order to strengthen their body-mind connection, which helps in preforming at your best.

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