It’s natural to get a little anxious before hitting the court for a game. Even the pros get butterflies every now and then. But you’re an athlete, competing is kind of your thing – and learning how to play through your fears is part of the game.
So, what do you do when you start getting anxious before a game?
The first step is to take a step back and remind yourself that you’ve played basketball hundreds of times before this game. You practiced all week. You are ready to play this game and nothing the other team throws will be new – because you’re ready!
Next, find a quiet space and clear your mind of those negative thoughts of losing or missing a shot. Because here’ the truth, you will miss every now and then. Not all of your passes will be to the right player, and every now and then you may foul out. That’s fine. It’s part of the game. What you don’t want happen is to overthink yourself into a loss. When you get into your head it effects your muscle memory, and takes from your focus, making it more likely that you’ll miss a shot. The more you think “oh that’s a bad pass,” or “I keep missing that shot,” the more likely you are to continue those behaviors. Game day is when you prove that all the training and practice you did all week paid off.
What happens if you’ve done all this, and you’re on court and things aren’t coming to you? Well, that’s when you remember that basketball is a team sport. The game does not all fall of you. If you don’t think you are playing your best, then go into a supporting role and help your teammates out. Feed them the ball, say some encouraging words and run a tight defense. Basketball isn’t just about the person who makes the most shots, it’s a team working together for a common goal – which is winning.