A signature win is so close for your basketball program that you can almost taste it. This next game will show the world what your team is made of. But, the last practice was shaky and you’re sensing that your players don't understand the significance of preparing for this game.
You know this team has the physical ability to compete with their opponent, but you’re not sure if they believe it. It’s time to reach into your coaching bag of tricks and pull out some inspiration for your players. No matter how many suicides or basketball shooting drills they run, they won’t be ready until they get their heads right.
Here are five inspirational basketball quotes to help you put your players’ mental game on point.
1. “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan
This short statement holds an ocean of wisdom. It demands your players visualize success. It forces them to provide the details of their own success in their minds and what that success looks like. It’s amazing how powerful expecting to succeed can be.
2. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
This ancient Greek proverb has held its truth for thousands of years. It does triple duty for your team by encouraging players to believe in the system, promises excellence for their involvement, and letting them know their own hard work, not some magic act of faith, will make them better.
3. “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” - Jerry Rice
‘Simply work harder is the message of this quote. It offers a glimpse into the mind of someone who understands and is willing to do what it takes to achieve his athletic goals. Better still, it implies that anyone who won’t go that extra distance is preparing for a competitive loss. This will help your players understand the importance of pushing themselves especially after tough practices and it helps players view winning as the logical result of their hard work.
4. It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
This quote helps players understand the importance of mental strength in competition. By acknowledging how commonplace the ‘will to win’ is, it takes the focus off the upcoming game and forces them to expand their definition of what they need to do to successfully compete. It helps them understand that winning isn’t a strategy, it’s a result. And that result depends on planning, collective effort, and discipline.
5. If you do not have time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over? – John Wooden
This gem gets to the heart of competition. The athlete who’s worked harder on their fundamentals -- talent being equal -- will usually win the contest. But, it’s not just a call to get the mechanics right, it’s an admonition to respect the time spent perfecting the skill. Time is limited so do your best to get it right so you can move on to other skills.
Use these basketball quotes to guide your players through the mental minefield of big game preparation and, if all goes well, be ready for a noisy and happy locker room when it’s over. Good luck!
For more great coaching quotes, check out these 8 basketball quotes from 8 of the winningest coaches of All-Time!