No one is ever quite sure about how a basketball player is supposed to act after a loss. It doesn’t seem necessary to cry for a week, especially since you’re likely to have another game within that time; yet it doesn’t seem quite right to walk off the court laughing either.
Naturally, some losses will be more bothersome than others, and (just as naturally) every basketball player will lose some times. Therefore, it seems intelligent to prepare a response in advance for those unhappy times when the inevitable happens and you lose.
In this article, we’ll show you how to adopt a champion’s approach to losing that will allow you to stand out from the crowd.
Let’s get started.
After you lose, you should think. Thinking should keep you from laughing (and probably crying as well). Neither laughing nor crying is likely to help you much for next time, but thinking is always valuable.
- Did you give your best physical effort?
- Were you fully tuned-in to the game mentally?
- What things could you have done better?
- How could you have prevented the loss?
- What would you do differently if you had it to do over?
- What did the other team do to confuse you or make it difficult?
- Can you use that on someone else in the next game?
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself, and these should come in place of the more common comments like, “The referees were terrible”, “The coach was stupid”, or “If only Jones hadn’t tried that stupid shot”.
Get out of the habit of blaming referees and coaches and others, and think. Wait until the next day to decide what your verdict is. A lot of times, with emotions high after a big game, things get said that aren’t meant and aren’t true. Disappointment, mixed with anger and fatigue, make it easy to say things that won’t seem so intelligent the next morning.
No one loses a game singlehandedly. There are unfortunate circumstances when a player misses a shot at the end with his team a point behind, or he travels with the ball, or he kicks it out-of-bounds. People may say he lost the game, but he didn’t. You lost it with that one turnover at the beginning, that bad pass, or that failure to talk on defense in the first half that gave the other team an easy basket.
Get in the habit of saying you aren’t sure what happened or why you lost. Say you need time to think about the game, and then do that. Think about it. Go back over every play, everything you can remember – not forever, not even for a week, but certainly on your way off the court, in the locker room, on the bus home, and that night in bed. That ought to be enough. It’s only after the game that you should think about it – think about it so much that there isn’t time to laugh or cry.
Then, in the morning, there will be some jokes that are funny again, and it will be time to be getting ready to win the next one, to encourage others, and to go on living. Good players think – especially after a loss. That’s how they learn not to lose very often.
What’s your approach to handling losing? Share your ideas on to bounce back like a champion.
THINK THE GAME
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Athletes, this is for you. We all want to play more minutes, have more fun, and win more games. But there’s a big problem that we all succumb to that’s holding us back from reaching our full potential.
What can you start doing today to win more games?
Join PGC Director Tyler Coston, as he shares four ways to improve your mental toughness, habits and focus necessary for winning more games.
If there was one habit that could transform your game instantly, would you adopt it?
We teach 10,000 athletes each summer and find that a majority of the athletes do not use this one habit (when they first arrive). It’s disappointing because it is so foundational, practical, and game-changing that we believe every basketball player needs it in their game.
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Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.