As a former college and pro player myself, I know one of the most important qualities any player can possess is confidence.
Some basketball players naturally possess this no matter what and their confidence can never be shaken in any situation. For the majority of athletes this is not the case and this topic has become one of importance in the development of youth athletes.
Coaches and players: If you have struggled with confidence do to the lack of proper training, coaches influence, personal struggles, or change in role, this article is for you.
I will discuss how players can achieve or regain confidence to help take their game to the next level. Likewise, I will also touch base on how coaches can help expedite this process.
Where does confidence come from?
Many fans often wonder why players fall into slumps and exhibit poor play. A lot of times the assumption will be that player is not working hard or giving maximum effort. Sometimes players will chalk it up to just being in a slump but most of the time this is due to a lack of confidence.
If you've ever played basketball and made your first few shots then you know the feeling of having confidence based just on that. Some players like Stephen Curry have so much swagger and confidence that they are able to do incredible things on the court. Not only does he put in the work but he knows he has the green light to do whatever he pleases on the offensive side of the court. This confidence shows and he demonstrates some of the most incredible acts out there on the floor.
Confidence or lack there of can come from outside sources and can really affect the play of any athlete. Many high school basketball players have dealt with this when moving to another team or a new coach coming in. Every player wants to establish themselves and find their niche or role on the team. Oftentimes players will take a back seat and never become the player they can because of confidence levels.
I've had the opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world and one thing they do not lack in is confidence. These players understand how much time and effort they have put in training and practicing and this naturally translates come game time.
How can coaches help build confidence?
Coaches can do their players a favor by being positive and also putting their players in the best position to succeed. Some coaches will yell at players for missing shots and belittle players for trying something new on the court. Coaches sometimes inadvertently box their players in and limit that player in a variety of ways. Many times these players never reach their full potential and often time regret playing the sport.
The best coaches are able to coach their players in a positive way, even if it more of an aggressive style. Players want to be pushed but they don't want to be disrespected and belittled in front of friends and family.
Coaches: Do yourselves a favor by continually explaining the difference between a good shot and a bad shot and praise players for understanding the difference. If a player takes a good shot but misses, instead of hanging your head or yelling negative comments, tell the player to keep shooting and keep going. This gives the player the feeling that you have trust in them and believe in them. Believe it or not, this will take the player to the next level and ultimately your team play.
I have been at times the most confident player on the court. I knew that my coach had supreme confidence in me and I knew that I had a solid spot on my team. When I made mistakes I wasn't verbally destroyed even if my coach came down on me. These instances are when you grow so much as a player.
Coaches: Take the time to sit down with your players and let them know you have faith in them even if their role is small on your team. This will motivate players to work harder then ever and when they step on the court, they will be willing to run through a brick wall for you!
And like I always say, make sure to train hard, train smart, and train with a purpose!