“If you live for others approval, you will die by their rejection.” -Rick Warren

With Provincials finishing this week and Nationals just around the corner it’s understandable if you feel the pressure building. In this journal, I want to give you a few key tips for your “mental routine” on how to manage and use that pressure to your advantage based on my own routine.

The truth is, if you want to have consistently impressive performances under this type of pressure you need a mental edge. You need to not only have a physical routine, but also a mental routine before practices and games. I believe we are at our best when we play on instinct. That’s when you make the best reads, play the most freely and ultimately have the game slow down in your mind. Let me tell you about my mental routine. I’m positive if you start implementing something similar it will allow you to take your game to another level.

Three Simple Mental Steps:

1) Go back in your memory and visualize a moment that first gave you your “love of the game” feeling. It could be you as a young kid dribbling the ball, or hooping at the park with friends. For me it’s being in elementary school shooting hoops in the rain during recess. I remember the moment perfectly, not caring about the rain, the slippery ball, the puddles, it was just me - the rock - the rim, smiling like a fool, and having pure love for the game.

2) Relive some of your greatest moments during competition. Find that feeling of hitting clutch free throws, or the elation after a huge win. It might be playing a near perfect game, the feelings of hitting a huge shot, or having the championship trophy placed in your hands. Work through them in your mind as if they are happening all over again.

3) See yourself in the game or practice you are about to play. You are brilliant. Scoring at will, in complete control of your body and the ball. Your court vision is on another level as you make smart read after smart read. Defensively you are active, talking on “D” and giving positive affirmations (high 5’s) to all your teammates and coaches.

These steps might all take place in the 15-20 minutes that you are listening to your music before the game in the locker room. But, it’s crucial to be still and find those moments as part of your deep seated desires on WHY you play the game. Used correctly this “mental routine” will give you the edge you need to increase your performance. I know personally this has helped me increase my consistency and I’ve noticed a significant boost in pre game focus.  

Now at the tip-off instead of being nervous about your first assignment or worrying about the rejection of others. You’ll find yourself smiling because you LOVE THIS GAME. You’ve played this game already over in your mind, so let your instincts take over, let go of any frustrations, and have confidence in your craft.

Be blessed, and good luck to everyone pursuing a 🏆 this month!


Follow Marek and his professional journey or ask Marek questions at @marek_klassen.