The State Track Meet is one week away, and I've been sharing with a few of our qualifiers the importance of concentration. South Titan Basketball has always emphasized concentration as one of the three "controllables" sandwiched in between attitude and effort in our acrostic "A.C.E." Concentration during competition and practicie is critical, but what are we doing to enhance this skill? (And yes, concentration is a skill!)
Mental routines can help an athlete maintain his focused concentration. Similar to physical routines that rehearse the biomechanics for a particular skill set, mental routines keep the athlete's mind from wandering and focusing elsewhere. Our Form Shooting Progression (FSP) is a pre-practice shooting routine we do before we step on the floor and begin shooting. The mental aspect of this routine is supreme for those athlete's who are "locked-in".
According to Coach Jeremy Haselhorst, there are four phases of concentration: 1) Observe - Take in your surroundings and observe all information that is pertinent to the practice or competition setting. 2) Strategy - Absorb the external information and devise a plan/course of action. 3) Visualize - See yourself performing in a positive, yet realistic manner. 4) Belief Cue - Activate a cue word or phrase which will elicit the proper technique and mental mindset. The athlete's mind is set on this belief cue, which allows the body to flow without mental interference.
For example, let's apply a possible mental routine rehearsed during our aforementioned Form Shooting Progression (physical routine):
1. Observe: This gym is a little bigger than Titan Arena, but the court dimensions and basket heights are the same. It appears to be a little cool. I better make sure my warm-up does just that: warms me up!
2. Strategy: Balance-Pressure-Range (B.P.R.) It's in my best interest to shoot only when I am balanced and under control. No need to force a shot when I am being pressured or out of my range.
3. Visualize: I can see myself shooting almost "effortlessly". I can feel my elbow in, under (the ball) and finishing eye high. I hold my follow through for two seconds with a Kobe pinch and land six inches forward as the ball swishes through the net.
4. Belief Cue: "I trust my training!" and "Hang it high."
This is just one of many examples. South Titan Basketball encourages you to always practice the mental with the physical. You will discover confidence is a consequence of concentration.