Helping Basketball Players Adopt the Shooter’s Mindset

Basketball Mindset After Missing Shots

We’re getting several questions about basketball players who stop shooting when they miss…

Here’s two of the questions related to the mindset after missing shots:

“How to see missing shot as part of the game that everyone does. How do I instill and teach my son to trust his skills and his teammates?” ~Sports Parent

“How can I help my players stay focused and keep shooting even when missing the first one.” ~Coach

One common challenge we see with athletes is that confidence is fragile especially when they miss shots or make mistakes. They become more tentative with their skills.

You want your athletes to have stable confidence. Ideally, they enter the game with confidence in their skills and it remains high during the length of the game.

Too many athletes are only as confident as their last play or series of plays. This works when they are playing well and on a run, but sabotages athletes’ confidence when they miss or make mistakes.

First, you want your athletes to focus on long-term confidence built from years of practice and play. It’s not fair for athletes to lose their hard-earned confidence just because they miss one of two shots!

Second, your athletes must understand that confidence is based on their skills, practice, and ability, not the last attempt. Do your athletes have the same skills after they miss shots? YES! Nothing has changed, they still have the same skills to make shots as they did before they miss.

The problem is they talk themselves into thinking their shot is “off” that day.

Third, you want you athletes to adopt the “shooter’s mentality.” This means that no matter how they start the game on offense, they continue to shoot.

For example, have them play the numbers game. If they missed the first two shots from the field and your athletes are, say, 50% shooters from the floor, has the probability increased that the next one is going in? YES! They must know the next shot has a greater chance of going in based on the numbers game or percentages.

Discourage the mindset that “I’m only as good as my last two minutes of play” or “if I miss early, I will keep missing the entire game.” That’s false thinking which doesn’t serve them well.

Finally, your athletes should not worry about what coach or teammates think when they miss shots. Basketball is a team sport, but sometimes athletes have to be selfish, in a good way, by not focusing on how others will react to missing.

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