a coach, we all like to see our players perform well when the pressure
is on. However, a great deal of players find it difficult to do exactly
that. When playing in a big game or in front of a large crowd it can be
extremely intimidating and they lose focus, confidence, and
This is the exact moment they need to maintain their mental toughness.
Pressure is created not by the game situation, but how we handle it.
Being a professional basketball player requires that you not only deal
with pressure, but thrive under the stress of competition. The issue of
preparing players to perform under pressure is one that takes focus and
practice. Players need to work on the mental game just as much as their
To deal effectively with pressure, we must acknowledge it exists and
then learn how to handle it properly and effectively. I find the best
way to prepare for playing under pressure is to treat the big game just
like any other game. Here are some ideas on how to prepare players
- Be confident and trust yourself
- Eliminate negative thoughts and fear of failure from your mind before and during games
- Visualize yourself performing well, and being cool under pressure
- Practice and prepare yourself so you're ready and able to play well when the pressure is on
- Play in the moment - always concentrate on what is happening now, not what went wrong on the last play
The ability to perform professionally under pressure is one of the most
desired skills or qualities of being a successful basketball player.
Coaches need to address the fact that not all of their players will be
able to perform successfully under pressure. Remember, stress is not
created by the situation but in how we look at it and handle it.
Basketball mental toughness is critical when performing under pressure.
Helping players develop their mental game is a skill that will benefit
everyone, but most of all help prevent your player from becoming a very