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February 15, 2023   |   Tagged Leadership

Basketball When Life is Stressful

Basketball when life is stressful

Basketball is one of the most fun sports on the planet. But basketball can also add to stress in life. There is a sweet spot when we are operating in excellence, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. When all these are in alignment, there is a feeling of deep rest and fulfillment, even during unrest. It is possible to live in a spirit of peace and hopefulness, even when the entire world is in crisis.

When we are in a state of confusion, pain, frustration, or apathy in these areas, there is unrest even when we are trying to relax, wind down or sleep.

Basketball can be a barometer of stress.

Basketball can reveal to us how much stress we have in our lives. If we find our basketball mindset discouraged, frustrated, hopeless, and apathetic. It's a good reminder that we need to return to our mission and purpose for basketball. We may have placed too much emphasis on the "externals" of basketball. When we come back to the "internals" of basketball, our joy and strength return.

Stress can weigh heavily on us-- especially our basketball mindset. The struggle of the unknown, isolation, and fears of the future, rob us of the ability to be right here, right now. You can overcome this stress by changing your mindset. Treat any ‘thought addiction’ like a dangerous drug. Don't consume it. Keep any "what if" anxieties out of the mind and focus instead on building your grit mindset.

You can push yourself during this stressful time to overcome and this will be a great gift to you even during this painful season of life.

Next, basketball can be a great tool to help you overcome your addiction to physical comfort.

Basketball can reveal our struggle with comfort. Those who pursue physical comfort at all costs can never become great players. According to Yale's research on learning and development, scientists have discovered, “If you’re not outside your comfort zone, you are not learning.” Learning involves the elements of struggle, uncertainty, and, to some degree, pain. You literally need to shock your cells into change.

Your body needs to go through discomfort in order to improve. But here is the catch--- Too much discomfort can cause you to quit, injure yourself, or choose inappropriate ways to bring comfort to yourself.

There are a million inappropriate ways we can try to comfort ourselves. We soothe our emotional pain through food, alcohol, gossip, negativity, decreasing work ethic, increasing media consumption, and so forth.

If you want to be good at basketball, you have to balance comfort well. You must work to get in the sweet spot. You need to be pushed and forced out of your comfort zone in order to shock your cells into change.

You also need to be able to repair, to deeply rest. The word comfort means to “strengthen greatly.” To navigate stress, you must be able to comfort yourself and your teammates by understanding comfort should strengthen you. If the ways you are choosing to "comfort" yourself in stress are not significantly strengthening your life, you are choosing the wrong way to navigate your stress.

Finally, one of the best ways to navigate stress is through the friendship and support of your team. Teammates who know how to strengthen members through comfort navigate physical and emotional pain significantly better than teams who do not know how to comfort team members.

Some interesting studies on team dynamics found that teams who had healthy friendships and communication skills were able to go through difficult seasons or times of stress with significant resilience compared with teams with fewer friendships and weaker communication skills. In addition, singing as a team significantly improves pain tolerance, and overall health and creates greater unity.

Action Steps

  • Be mindful of how much stress you are under.
  • Don't underestimate your stress.
  • Overcome your addiction to physical comfort.
  • Recognize ways to improve your rest and repair.
  • Eliminate unhealthy ways you attempt to "comfort" yourself.
  • Increase the healthy ways you comfort yourself and others.
  • Find teammates and build teams who know how to strengthen you.

About NBC Basketball
NBC Basketball offers intensive sports and leadership training for athletes, parents, and coaches. These camps were started in 1971 under the mission of promoting skill mastery, mental toughness, quality leadership, emotional intelligence, gratitude, and grit. For more information about these programs visit www.nbccamps.com.

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