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Developing Grit and a Winning Mindset

If you want to be great at basketball, you must have grit and a winning mindset.

A mindset effects how you view the world. Two people can see the same situation very differently. One person walks into a cafeteria and only sees the food, they never even notice the person behind the counter. Their mindset is set on self-mode—seeing and interpreting the world only from what they want or need.  Another person sees the world from a giving mindset. They find ways to say thank you, they look for opportunity to serve and give, and they find ways to use even hard or difficult situations to be better.


How does your negative or positive mindset influence the way you see the world? 
When you go through difficulty, how do your thoughts affect you?


Grit means toughness. Grit is the ability to struggle through what is difficult or hard without giving up.  It is a mindset that says, “No matter what pain, struggle, or challenge I face, I am going to get through it.  I will not only get through it but I will even be grateful for the struggle because I know I will be better because of it. I will serve others in difficulty. I won’t allow myself to let this challenge make me a worse athlete or person. I will rise above.”


Mindset Self-Check

  • I am thankful for hard work.
  • I know my thoughts influence the way I play.
  • I understand that some thoughts can be poisonous and weaken or destroy my mind.
  • I am careful about what thoughts I let in my mind.
  • I do not feed or entertain unworthy, weak, dangerous, mean or selfish thinking.
  • I don’t think about or talk about the mistakes of others.
  • I work to see and be thankful for the people around me.
  • I do the hardest task first.
  • When I experience something hard, I don’t give up.
  • I know challenges are necessary if I want to be my best.
  • When I want to quit and I’m short of my goal, I do at least two more reps.
  • I would define myself as tough.
  • Others would define me as tough.
  • I am thankful when I go through difficulty because I know it will make me stronger.


Key Ways to Build Your True Grit

Do the hard thing first. This is called delayed gratification. Research has found the more you have the ability to delay gratification, the more successful you will be.  What does delayed gratification mean? It means your ability to resist an immediate, tempting reward for the sake of a greater, more lasting reward.

Examples of delayed gratification: 

  • Finishing homework before watching TV
  • Eating your dinner before you eat dessert
  • Giving up sugar during basketball season
  • Cleaning your room before you play video games

Talk Tough.  People with grit talk differently. They don’t complain, they don’t whine, they don’t brag. Their words are full of courage, humility, and they achieve what they want to achieve.

When researchers watched kids who had grit, these kids talked to themselves by saying “I can do this, I can get through this.” Kids who gave up talked to themselves like this, “I can’t make it, I have to quit, I need to stop.”  What you tell yourself is up to you. You are in charge of what you think and what you say.

Write down a word or slogan you can tell yourself to help you be tough.

Finish strong. If you want to have the mindset of a true game changer, you must finish strong. It is the hallmark of a person with grit. They will do whatever it takes to see something through.   In basketball, you finish the dribble with a two foot stop in triple threat, you finish with a made basket, and you finish by rebounding, finding the outlet and sprinting to fill the lane.  These are key ways great athletes finish.


NBC Camps are located in over 30 cities and 8 countries. NBC Camps began in 1971 with the mission to create a program that teaches intense basketball fundamentals and a clear understanding of the game. NBC Camps also educate athletes about great personal leadership skills including self-discipline, gratitude, capacity to listen, mental toughness, permanent confidence, and joy even in difficulty. If you love basketball enough to work hard, we want you at NBC Camps. Find out more about our basketball camp programs and locations at

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