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Why Your Mindset Affects Your Basketball Success

Your mindset is a crucial key to your basketball success.  Your mindset, as well as your parents' mindset, dramatically influence each other. Your mindset not only affects you, it affects everyone around you.

Consider these two different basketball stories.

A father who was a former college athlete had a son who loved basketball.  This son wanted to devote time to becoming a great player. His dad signed him up to play for a reputable coach in his city. At first, all was well. As the season continued, however, the son began to get less and less playing time. His son would come home and sob in his father’s arms feeling as if his dreams were being crushed. Something began to burn inside this father’s heart; a deep anger would seize him every time he saw this man, he could hardly be civil, he hated to attend games, he desired to criticize this man to anyone and everyone.


The father’s friends confronted him and told him to change but he would not listen. Eventually, a confrontation between the coach and dad arose. After a game, the father screamed at the coach and even slightly shoved him. By the way, this father was a pastor.  Away from the drama, he began to honestly access his own character and felt ashamed. He met with the coach and asked forgiveness for all the ways he mistreated him.

Today, the coach and the father are reconciled and their friendship is a testament to courage, humility, and willingness to make things right after going wrong.  


Time Out

As you read this story, can you imagine yourself in the role of each character?-- The father, the coach, the son, the friends.  How does pain affect your character? Research shows the fear of thwarted dreams can cause the greatest feelings of despair and rage.  

What we tell ourselves in our minds affects our character. Look at this father’s thought pattern:

  • This coach is terrible
  • My son is better than some of the kids playing ahead of him
  • His future is being destroyed 
  • I can’t do anything but sit here 
  • This year is a waste and is ruining my son


Blame, rage, frustration, and bitterness narrow options and shut down potential growth as well as reveal character qualities of fear, impotence, and victimhood.

Here is a much different narrative.
A former college player had a son who loved basketball. His son started getting less and less playing time. The son started to come home discouraged. The father called a meeting with son and asked if he wanted to change the situation. The son agreed.

“First thing you need to do,” the father said, “Is to write down what you are thankful for about your coach and your teammates. Put that where you can see it every day.  Next, identify two or three weak areas you are going to attack daily.” The father helped his son find two or three areas while mapping out an additional workout plan during the season to improve those skills. Third, the father told him, “Go into practice with specific goals. Make practice your game day.”  After practice, the dad would check in with his son on his goals and hold him accountable for his inner thoughts.

The father told him to change his feelings about sitting the bench as well. “On the bench, your job is to stay totally focused on the game. Ask what you can learn to make you better. Use the bench as a tool to make you stronger, not weaker. Watch and learn what the coach values. Study the refs and become quick at discovering their preferences. Find the player you will most likely guard and break down his game.”

As the season continued, his son became more mentally tough, and the coach began to call his number more often. With the help of his father, this young man did what is nearly impossible to do; he maintained confidence and rose above.

Time Out
Consider the thought patterns of this story:

  • I can learn from this situation
  • Obstacles make me stronger
  • Games do not make the player, practice does
  • My coach does not define me, I define me
  • The bench will be my platform to rise above
  • Every person who achieves greatness has to overcome great difficulty


How about you? If someone was writing your story—how would your mindset be described? Remember, “Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can.”

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