This idea on youth basketball comes courtesy of Mark…
I came to realize that with any sport you play, including [tag]youth basketball[/tag], the mental aspect is just as important, if not more, than the physical aspect. I participated in sports thinking that to be better, your physical skills had to be perfected. But, when the pressure of competition came into to play, my success and that of my teams didn’t happen the way I planned. Lack of mental skills hurt our success.
So, with my team this time around, I wanted to build team comradery and rapport, as well as help the kids handle the pressure of competition. We spent a day doing activities where we didn’t play [tag]basketball[/tag]. We played dodgeball, watch a movie, had pizza, and a team discussion.
With dodgeball, the team openly critized each other on what each one was doing wrong, how to improve, and what needed to be done in order to win. It was like they all became coaches and relied on each other for the team’s success. We watched the movie “Hoosiers” to show that no matter how insurmountable the odds are, heart and determination could overcome anything. After having pizza, we had a team discussion, similar to that in the movie “The Replacements” starring Keanu Reeves. I had each player talk about what they feared (concerning basketball) and what they needed to do in order overcome it. This was pretty eye opening. The leaders of the team exemplified their leadership by being honest and open, showing no matter your role on the team, we all have room for improvement. With the bench players seeing this, I saw it was a relief for them to know that we all have the same battles and obstacles to overcome. I gave them some mental drills to help with their development and try to help them overcome their obstacles.
Ever since then, at every practice all players now support each no matter how well or poorly they are playing. Each player has now become each others [tag]coach[/tag]. They help each other during drills, taking each one aside and explain what they did wrong or right, and the most important thing, they motivate each other to become not only better players, but a better team. Its almost like I don’t have to be there. Our season is starting up soon and I feel no matter how many wins we get this season, this season is already a success.