As a player, confidence is paramount to performance. Where does it come from? What do you do when you lose it? How can you instill it in a young player?
Confidence, to me, is self trust. Putting the future outcome in your own hands because you trust yourself to get it done. Such as taking a big shot in the fourth quarter. Or speaking to a large group for the first time. Or showing up with energy to a team tryout when you don’t know anyone. From my experience, players lack confidence when fear is louder in their head than their positive self-talk. Or, when they haven’t properly prepared for the moment. Confidence is an elastic feeling, and if you aren’t careful, it can be devastating to the outcomes you seek!
What do you do when you lack confidence in basketball? It isn’t just a quick and easy change in your thoughts. You can’t be hungry, and suddenly think “I’m full”, and solve your hunger problem. You have to eat. You cannot just say you are confident, you have to feed your confidence. A couple of ways to feed your confidence:
Confidence is vital for any athlete, and the process definitely gets more challenging as you grow up and get into higher levels of play. Feeding your confidence is a huge edge in the mental game. But it must be backed up with work. Self trust increases when you have put in the work in the dark, well before the opponent and the fans show up. Do yourself a favor and start training to feed your own confidence in areas where you are struggling.
Who are your critics? Why are you listening to them? Their opinion doesn’t count. It is those of you who are trying, setting the bar higher, reaching and growing for more, that are actually “daring greatly”. This is the way we should live. Set your intentions on what you want, and be confident in the chase, without letting others who are “looking on” discount or discourage you. Remind yourself of this as often as you need to.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt
Common question, easy answer. Practice. Practice more. Your handle will improve in direct proportion to how much you work at it. Stationary drills cannot get old. The crossover is taught simply to 4th graders, and yet pros still work at it. Here are a few simple areas to focus in on, while allowing variation in your ball handling workout (keep the focus on these main components):
1- Pound Dribbles: Dribbling the ball hard off your fingertips, using your shoulder for power. Develops a better feel for the ball. ***Must pound hard
2- Moves and Combo Moves: practicing crossovers, in and out dribbles, between the legs and behind the back. AND practicing them in succession with each other. Really increases your coordination and feel for the ball. Use imagination-don’t be a robot.
3- Ball Control Dribbles: Increasing your control on the ball and where it bounces. Easy to practice over a line or cone and translates to control in live action.
4- Change of Pace with Dribble: Using your moves/combos in space practicing change of speed. Incorporate slow to fast, fast to slow, deception, and retreat with change of pace.
Those with the best handles are said to have the ball “on a string”. They have practiced the above to the point where they are completely comfortable controlling the ball in traffic and leaving defenders guessing where they are going. Practice. Practice!
**This is purposely meant to only address the dribble. Ball handling technically includes passing, another crucial element for any great ball handler.
"Get Better" is our PEAK blog, providing you with content to help enhance your game, your mind, and your relentless pursuit of the process! Enjoy.
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