By Madisen Carter
At Unlimited Potential Basketball, we like to not only work on our physical training, but also our mental training. Although physical training is extremely important in the game of basketball, according to the book, Play Present, by Graham H. Betchart, 80% of the game of basketball is mental.
Mental training is important to work on for not only an athlete’s game, but for their everyday life. Mental training improves self confidence, helps with stress management, increases drive and motivation, improves concentration, increases mental toughness and so much more.
If an athlete is not prepared mentally for a game and does not realize that some things may be out of their control, this can strongly affect how they play. It is important for athletes to understand that if something does not go as planned during a game, they can not control the outcome of a situation, but they can control how they react to that situation and move on to the next play. Here at UPB, we want to introduce mindfulness to our athletes as young as possible, so they can continue to grow in both their physical and mental game.
After our training sessions UPB, we like to go over our MVP's: Meditation, Visualization, Positive Self-Talk. Betchart goes over these three important tools in Play Present.
Meditation: Focus on slowly breathing in through your nose and breathing out of your mouth. While doing this, there may be thoughts that run through your mind. Think about them for a moment and release those thoughts as you exhale and move back focusing on your breathing. Always return to how you feel in the relaxed state of mind.
Visualization: While using all of your senses, imagine success on the court. Think about how you will execute on the court, how you will overcome diversity, and how your game plan will play out. Imagine playing with confidence, and having success on every single play, offensively and defensively. Visualizing how you want to play on the court will help prepare you for your game and give you confidence when you step onto the court.
Positive Self-Talk: This step is extremely important. Positive affirmations lead to belief, and if you say you will be successful in how you play, you will walk into that game with confidence and assurance that you will play to the best of your abilities.
Playing with the MVP’s will help an athlete overall to play mindful and help them gain confidence in their game. After working out, practice, or even if there is just five minutes of free time in an athlete’s day, they can go through their MVP’s to prepare themselves for the next time they put the ball in their hands. Playing mindful does not come to an athlete right away, but if an athlete really focuses and dedicates their time to work with these tools, they can achieve mindfulness successfully.
You can click here to read more about how playing mindful can benefit an athlete’s game.
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.