It is a well-established fact that half of your performance depends solely on your headspace. The best of the best might be the machines of musculature, but they are also formidable individuals with the mental integrity of reinforced steel.
August 31st is fast approaching, and basketball players from around the world are forging both their physical and cognitive endurance with dedicated zeal in order to reach the most coveted position in the Basketball World Cup. They know how to train and prepare, and we came up with some general rules that they are using, so you can apply them in your daily routine, no matter what sport you like.
Be careful what you imagine
This might sound like an innocuous piece of advice, but it is the Rosetta Stone of all athletic victories. If you are a type of person that is prone to worrying, it might be easier for you to imagine bad scenarios instead of good ones.
Close your eyes and try to imagine yourself shooting – do you miss or hit? If you miss, how does that make you feel? There is a strong chance that this line of thinking will translate to reality, and if you want to avoid this you have to work towards a more positive attitude and imagination. Remember – you attract what you imagine.
Work on your endurance
Endurance is one of the pillars of athleticism. After all, you are required to perform at the peak of your abilities throughout a prolonged time interval, and endurance determines whether you can persevere until you reach victory.
Of all the tips to build endurance, the most important one is eternal: run long but slow, and increase both distance and tempo relentlessly, on a daily basis. There is no big philosophy about it, but perseverance, and this is what makes endurance enhancement activities such a wonderfully meditative part of the experience if you are getting prepared for the Basketball World Cup.
Learn how to be present
The power of the now is undeniable and revelatory. The ability to let go of your thoughts and focus on nothing but the present moment of the game will add a skip to your step, sharpness to your attention and skill to your game. It is all about ‘shedding’ the excessive burdens and focusing on teamwork and the performance.
In order to achieve this, you have to begin practicing something that seems to be so easy: stop thinking. The practice is akin to meditation and, in many ways, strengthening your muscles – the more you practice it, the better at it you will become. Don’t think. Stay in the present moment. Focus on the game.
Condition yourself to relax
However, even if you have become a meditative guru that lives in the present, it is not impossible to avoid bouts of frustration on the terrain: it is the nature of the game. This is why, in order to stay collected and focused on the road to the Basketball World Cup, you have to learn how to condition yourself to relax.
In the moment of frustration, whether it’s training or an important game, you have to take the first chance to give yourself five to ten seconds of time-out. Shut your eyes, take three to five deep breaths and focus on nothing but your body as you inhale and exhale.
Training for a world cup is as much a preparation for the mental game as it is for the physical one. You have to lay the necessary groundwork for positive thinking without veering into the realm of delusion and you need to be prepared for any outcome that comes your way.
Finally, while you must work on your own game, you ultimately have to work as an integral cog in the team machine. Flowing in tandem with your teammates through seamless rapport and empathy is the only way to victory.