Even the greatest players, coaches, and teams find their back against the wall at some point. The longer you spend playing the game the more you'll learn how to overcome those painful defeats and battles with heartbreak on the court.
So what exactly needs to be done to properly process these losses and bounce back even better the next time you take the floor?
1. Communicate with your Coaches
On the court and in every aspect of life, communication is key!
The best way to figure out what exactly went wrong is to have a conversation with your team and coaching staff about the game. Where did we fail? Where were we just unlucky? What do we need to work on? What can we take away and apply to our next contest?
Opening up about where you believe you and the team fell short is a great way for your coaches to understand the on-court perspective and how to properly manage practice up until the next game.
If everyone knows where the other stands, it provides a much clearer path for everyone to follow, and if everyone's on the same path you'll see results!
2. evaluate your game
Prepare, prepare, and prepare some more! The best players and coaches will tell you your game isn't only tuned on the floor in practice, but in the film room as well.
If you have game film to look at, you can get an even better outlook on where your focus needs to be to ensure things improve moving forward. Analyzing film during your team's normal session is fine, but the best players take the initiative before or after school/practice to look at the film or evaluate the game in order to get the ultimate edge.
This can also be applied to your opponents. Maybe you didn't prepare enough last time out, so getting that extra time in to analyze your next adversary is another great step towards improvement.
3. fine-tune your skills
The next step after analyzing where the prior game may have went wrong is to apply those needed adjustments in practice! Transferring the information you've accumulated to the floor is the final, and arguably most important, piece of the puzzle.
If you fell short at the free-throw line, get 500 free throws up during and after practice. Rebounding an issue? Find a teammate and practice boxout drills. If you had trouble getting to the basket, get a quick 3-on-3 together and force yourself to get a foot in the paint before you can score.
Communication, Evaluation, and Application. These are just three of the many things you can focus on to overcome those inevitable tough losses, learn the most from them, and emerge as the best team possible afterward.