Basketball on the Edge – The Science of Developing Mental Toughness in Your Health, Work, and Life By James Clear

 

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This week’s post will get you started down the road to developing more mental toughness. A great article for players, parents, and coaches that is full of ideas for how you can improve your game and improve your life.

“Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? Or a good leader? Or a good parent? Why do some people accomplish their goals while others fail?

What makes the difference?

Usually we answer these questions by talking about the talent of top performers. He must be the smartest scientist in the lab. She’s faster than everyone else on the team. He is a brilliant business strategist.

But I think we all know there is more to the story than that.

In fact, when you start looking into it, your talent and your intelligence don’t play nearly as big of a role as you might think. The research studies that I have found say that intelligence only accounts for 30% of your achievement — and that’s at the extreme upper end.

What makes a bigger impact than talent or intelligence?”

Click here to read the article by James Clear

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Basketball on the Edge – Do You Want to Know The Secret to Being a Better Player?

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Let’s imagine a scenario. You are given an opportunity to enter a one on one tournament. Your coach says that there are two skill divisions and your skill level is right in between the two divisions. In the lower division you might be one of the favorites to win the tournament. In the higher division, you will probably struggle, but have the chance to be competitive and win some games. Which division would you choose to play in?

The truly competitive player will choose to play in the higher division. Why? Isn’t winning important? Doesn’t it build confidence? And self-esteem? The answer lies in your approach. The player that chooses the higher division is exhibiting the characteristics of a growth mindset.

If you don’t know much about “growth mindset” you can learn more by clicking here. Carol Dweck pioneered the research on growth mindset. Dweck is a psychology professor at Stanford University and author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

The major difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset boils down to a very simple concept:

People with a Growth Mindset believe that skill can be developed. (I can get better at…)

People with a Fixed Mindset believe that skill cannot be changed. (I’m not good at…)

The mindset that you adopt has a huge impact on your basketball career and your life in general.

A growth mindset increases your desire to learn. Improvement only occurs through learning. Learning is often a struggle. We learn best when we practice deliberately at the edge of our comfort zone. Players with a growth mindset are not afraid to make mistakes or look bad when they are learning a new skill. These players know that the only way to improve and get better is to work hard and accept challenges.

A fixed mindset increases your desire to look good. When we believe that we are either “good” or “bad” we seek out activities or competition that makes us look good. We’d rather play against competition that we can easily beat because it makes us look good rather than challenge ourselves because then we risk looking “bad”.

Let’s look at some common basketball situations and how the two mindsets differ in their approach.

Responding to a coach’s feedback (constructive criticism)?

Growth Mindset – The player looks at the coach’s feedback as a tool to help them improve. They are open to coaching because feedback is a way for them to learn and develop their skills. Great players want to be coached.

Fixed Mindset – The player looks at the coach’s feedback as an attack on their skill level. They don’t believe they can improve so why listen at all. They think, “I’m already good, why is the coach picking on me?”

Accepting challenges?

Growth Mindset – The player seeks out challenges. They want to guard the best player on the other team. They want to play a tough schedule. They want to play against the best teams. Accepting a challenge is a risk worth taking because it offers opportunities to improve and grow.

Fixed Mindset – The player looks for the easiest route. They want to guard the weakest player on the other team. They want to play the easiest schedule. They want to play against the worst teams. Accepting a challenge is a risk not worth taking because they might look bad.

What happens when things get tough?

Growth Mindset – The player looks for solutions and tries to figure out a way to get past the obstacle or problem. Not starting? Figure out what I can do better. Missing too many jumpers? Work on my shot. Get knocked down and get right back up. Resilient.

Fixed Mindset – The player gives up easily and accepts their fate. Not starting? I’m just not good enough and coach doesn’t like me. Missing too many jumpers? I’m not a good shooter. Get knocked down and stay down. Weak.

What’s your effort level?

Growth Mindset – Effort is directly tied to results so the player works hard at all times. I can improve any skill with effort. Effort at the edge of my comfort zone is the key to learning and improvement. The player believes effort drives success.

Fixed Mindset – Effort has no correlation to results so the player does not value it. I’m either good at a skill or I’m not. The amount of effort put into something is irrelevant because my skill level is static.

Am I a great teammate?

Growth Mindset – Player is inspired by the success of their teammates. They use the success of others to learn lessons they can apply in their own life. They are happy for the success of their teammates and don’t compare themselves to others.

Fixed Mindset – Player is threatened by the success of teammates. A teammates’ success makes the player look worse. They secretly root for teammates to fail and are always comparing themselves to others.

Overall Outlook?

Growth Mindset – Focused on the process of learning and what it takes to get better. Win or lose, how can they continue to improve and get better?

Fixed Mindset – Focused on the outcome. They search out “easy” wins that make me look good. If they lose it makes them look bad and nothing can be gained from that.

As a player I always looked for opportunities to get better. I HATED playing in games with players that didn’t challenge me. I avoided those games like the plague. If I did get in a game like that I tried to handicap myself by only going left, or shooting only layups, and once I got to high school I never called a foul in a pick-up game, ever. I had never heard of the Growth Mindset way back then, but when it came to basketball I had it.

Players who adopt a growth mindset are much more likely to reach their potential than those that don’t. A growth mindset can be carried over to all aspects of a player’s life. As a student, as a family member, as a musician, as a friend, as anything those with a growth mindset are much more likely to find true success (however you define it) than those with a fixed mindset.

Let’s end with a quote from Carol Dweck herself, “This is hard! This is FUN!

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Basketball on the Edge – Are you ok with being Average? Me Neither by Tyler Gaffaney

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In this post Tyler Gaffaney from www.hoopgains.com shares 7 tips for basketball players who don’t want to be mediocre.

“There’s nothing wrong with being average. But if you’re like most players, being mediocre is the last thing you want. I promise you, If you make it a goal to do these 7 things, you will not be mediocre.”

Click here to read the article by Tyler Gaffaney

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Basketball on the Edge – Servant Leadership – Serve the common good and put the team first in every decision.

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Servant Leadership – Serve the common good and put the team first in every decision.

What does servant leadership look like for a young player on a basketball team? Here are some ways that a young player can demonstrate servant leadership as a member of a basketball team.

1. Develop a sense of connection within your team.
Work hard to connect your teammates to one another. Organize (or for young player have parents/coaches organize) gatherings outside of practices and games. A team dinner, kickball game, or going bowling can be a great way for teammates to connect off the court leading to deeper relationships and stronger bonds. A connected team is often a happier more successful team.

2. Put the team first.
This is not always easy. Can you be a great teammate even when you don’t get as much playing time as you would like? Do you cheer on your team when you are on the bench? Can you accept a lesser role if it makes the team more successful? These are the types of things servant leaders do.

3. Avoid situations that would embarrass your teammates, your coaches, and your family.
Servant leaders make good decisions even when authority figures aren’t around. If you wouldn’t tell your grandmother about it, the action you’re about to take or what you’re about to say probably isn’t a good choice! Conduct yourself in a way that everyone associated with you would be proud of.

4. Have confidence in yourself.
Knowing that you will make good decisions and can be successful helps you and your team achieve positive results on and off the court. A servant leader isn’t afraid to make mistakes. A player that is afraid to make mistakes won’t make good things happen. Don’t be afraid to step up and lead for fear you’ll be wrong. Your team needs leaders.

5. Make a commitment to your team.
How are you going to improve your game? How will you help your teammates be better? How can you best help your coaches accomplish their goals for the team. A servant leader makes a commitment to help their team be the best that it can be by going the extra mile beyond what is required.

6. Lead by example.
Talk is cheap. We learn more from what people do than from what they say. Let your teammates and coaches see your leadership reflected in the way you carry yourself every day. Strive to be the most competitive player on your team. Work hard in practice. Work hard in school. Be dedicated to your teammates, coaches, and family. Hold yourself to a standard that makes you a role model for others around you both on and off the court.

7. Find a need and fill it.
Does your coach need someone to carry the water bottles? Clean up the locker room? Guard the opposition’s best player? Step up and fill the need. Does a teammate need help remembering the offense? Help studying for a test? A friend to talk to after a tough loss? Step up and fill the need. Look for opportunities to serve others in your family and community as well.

8. Communicate with everyone.
Be sure to be inclusive in your communication. Cliques among teammates can be very destructive to team success. Be the player that bridges the gap between teammates and brings everyone together. Leaving out just one teammate can be the start of a problem that drags down the whole team. Teams that are “together” have more fun and are more successful than those where lines of communication are broken.

9. Be a friend as well as a teammate.
Building bonds with your teammates off the court allows you to know them in ways you can’t during team activities. You won’t be best friends with all your teammates, and some you may have difficulty with no matter what you do, but by reaching out to them you’ll build team chemistry and get everyone striving towards the same goals.

10. Respect goes both ways.
To be a servant leader you must respect the leaders around you. How you interact with coaches, parents, and teachers will impact your ability to act as a servant leader among your teammates. If you have a healthy respect for those in leadership positions you will be modeling how your teammates can follow your lead. No one will follow someone who says one thing, but does another. If you disrespect coaches, parents, or teachers, or if you don’t compete hard at all times your teammates will have a hard time respecting you as a servant leader.

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Basketball on the Edge – Marriage and Youth Sports: Can They Be Teammates? by Janis B. Meredith

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Can your marriage and youth sports be teammates?

Do you and your spouse argue over youth sports issues? Does he get way too competitive and put pressure on your child? Does she get way too protective and coddle your child? Are you frequently not on the same page when it comes to what’s best for your young athlete?

Click here to read the article by Janis B. Meredith

Sign up now to get a “Head Start” on your competition with our free basketball tip of the day delivered straight to your inbox. Click below, enter your email and we’ll also send you our E-Book, “Mental Toughness, Improve Your Brain – Improve Your Game”.

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