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What to do if your coach doesn’t believe in you as a player

If you want to become a great basketball player or student you need the courage to believe.   The word believe comes from Old English and originally meant “hold dear, love.” Originally, people used the term to “believe on,” this has since changed to be “believe in.”  To believe in something means you know it to be real or true. To believe on something means it is the source of your belief, it is literally the well spring or your inspiration.  Both are super important if you want to be a better player and a better person.  What you believe about yourself, your future and your talent will be your foundation. But what do you do if your coach doesn't believe in you?

In 1956, a German horse called “Clever Hans” wowed the world with his ability to do math and read minds.  He was studied by now renowned psychologist Robert Rosenthal who discovered not a mind-reading horse but rather a phenomenon called the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” His discovery led to famous research on teacher bias. Teachers who were led to believe their students had superior intellectual abilities actually achieved superior intellectual results even though their students were in actuality average students.

Coaches also are susceptible to the “Rosenthal Effect.” If a coach believes an athlete is great, he or she will be better at the end of the season. Conversely, if a coach doesn’t believe an athlete is good, he or she will be worse at the end of the season.

What can you do if you find yourself in this negative self-fulfilling prophecy cycle with your grades, your basketball, or your life?  

The biggest thing you need if your coach doesn't believe in you is to resist the thought, “There is nothing I can do.” You can do something—You Must Change What You Believe.

4 Ways to Change What You Believe

Change what you say. You create your world with the words you say.  If you say you are dumb at math, it will be so. If you say your coach hates you, it will be so.
The self cannot save the self. In other words, you have to get to greater wisdom and insight than you currently have and that requires mentors. Surround yourself with people who are worthy of imitation and great thinkers who have wisdom to lead you well.
When you change, those around you change. As you have more confidence, gratitude, and power, you shift those who will try and take away your power or rob your confidence. 
Believe something higher than yourself. At NBC Camps we believe that faith in God is the ultimate way to live and creates the greatest opportunity for change. NBA Superstar Stephen Curry believes the freedom and peace he had about his future was because "I knew the Lord was preparing me for a bigger stage to represent and be a witness for Him on the basketball court. God's given me talents to play basketball for a living, but I still have to work hard to improve every day. I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is just a game that can be taken from me at any moment... I do a little sign on the court every time I make a shot or a good pass and I pound my chest and point to the sky – it symbolizes that I have a heart for God."


About NBC Basketball Camps

NBC Camps started as Northwest Basketball Camp in 1971, now almost 50 years later we are in 8 countries and run about 250 weeks of camp each summer. Find a camp or training program that fits you. Learn more at  or call 1-800-406-3926.

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