The Mindset When Closing Out Games
Some athletes want the ball in their hand in the closing seconds of a game while other athletes pray the fate of the game doesn’t fall upon their shoulders as time ticks down.
Which category do you fall into?
Some athletes are overwhelmed by performance anxiety and have great difficulty closing out games or taking the last shot…
Your mind becomes cluttered with ‘what ifs’… “What if I miss? What if I lose the game for my team? What if the team becomes angry with me for missing the last shot?”
You become so anxious and tight, which leads to poor decision making and a lack of freedom.
Instead of trying to get open, you blend in the background. You basically opt out of the game hoping another player takes the last shot to decide the game.
You may feel that there is nothing you can do about your mentality towards closing out games or how to approach game-ending pressure situations.
That is where Sport Psychology comes into play. You can change your mentality towards closing out games by applying proven mental strategies.
You CAN definitely be the player to sink the game-ending winning shot with some practice–just like junior forward Kris Jenkins of the Villanova Wildcats.
Jenkins hit a three-pointer buzzer-beater to give the Wildcats a 77-74 victory over North Carolina for the NCAA tournament championship.
JENKINS: “You know, we put a lot of work in. This team, everybody has the confidence to catch and shoot. So when Arch (Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono) threw me the ball, one, two step, shoot ’em up, sleep in the streets. I think every shot is going in, so that one was no different.”
What gave Jenkins the confidence to hit the biggest shot of his career?
Practice specificity or rehearse game situations in practice! Villanova practices last-second shots every day…
When you practice under pressure situations, you acclimate to it, so during game time, you are doing what you always have done.
This type of practice doesn’t eliminate anxiety, nor does it guarantee that you will make every game-ending play or shot.
Regular practice increases confidence which protects you somewhat from anxiety.
Villanova head basketball coach Jay Wright knows the value of being mentally prepared in critical situations and credits that mental preparedness for his team’s ability to produce in the clutch.
COACH WRIGHT: “We do practice that. We have certain plays with less than four seconds, from four to seven seconds. Every coach has this. Zero to four, four to seven, seven to 12. We have plays. So we know what it is. We practice it every day. I didn’t have to say anything in the huddle. We have a name for it, that’s what we’re going to do. Just put everybody in their spots.”
If you prepare yourself thoroughly for different game scenarios, you will approach those situations feeling “deja vu” instead of being overwhelmed by fear. Good mental preparation is all about being prepared to cope with any situation you’re faced with.
Top Strategy for developing a crunch-time mentality:
Write out a script for how you like to close out a tight game including: how you want the ball, the excitement of taking the last shot, a feeling of confidence with the ball in your hands, seeing the ball go through the net as time runs out and the excitement and celebration on the floor afterwards.
Take this script and act it out in practice. Make it a part of your everyday routine. You will soon see your confidence and freedom improve, as well as your mental approach to taking the “BIG” shot.
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
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For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!
D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
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If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!
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What are customers saying?
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~Sarah, US National Aerobic Gymnastics Team
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I think the material on your web site and the communications I receive are excellent. I find the advice practical and the topics that are discussed, very relevant to my own experiences. I feel very happy with my purchase of the Ultimate Sports Parent Program. Your materials are top class. I will continue to study them.”
~David Wormald, Sports Parent
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For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
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“I’ll start by saying that the Mental Edge Workbook program is awesome. It put all the pieces together for my mental work with soccer players.”
~Eitan Azaria, Mental Coach for Soccer