If you want to maximize your potential, be the best player you can be, and dominate the competition, you have to become obsessed with your goals and the journey ahead. So many players get caught up in the last play or the mistakes they’ve made in a training, practice or game. This is a surefire way to cripple your ability to perform at the highest level possible. A short term memory when it comes to mistakes is a common trait of all great achievers. For the basketball greats, they can’t think about that last turnover or missed shot because it’s gone… they no longer can affect the outcome.

Can you imagine a Jet Pilot checking their rear view mirror before taking off? It’s absurd because it doesn’t exist. Your last mistake or play or the past doesn’t exist anymore either. Yet so often in life we look behind us before we take off, but somehow that’s not absurd. It is completely ridiculous because you can’t change what has already happened. All you can change and adjust are the things that are in the present moment, which will impact your future. Too many times to count, players will not take a shot because they missed the last 3. What do those 3 misses have to do with the next shot you’re about to take? Absolutely nothing. It’s a whole new shot and there are completely new possibilities for a positive outcome this time around. After a miss, you want to immediately take a quick self-assessment and then make the necessary adjustments for your next shot (see http://optimumbasketball.com/shoot-lights-6-tips-tricks-transform-shot). But notice that you don’t get mad, frustrated, or upset at a missed shot. Why? Because it’s over, no chance to change the outcome of that specific shot, but you have every opportunity to affect the outcome of the upcoming shot.

Your mindset and how you approach the game is paramount in your success as a basketball player. I see way too many players that let what happened in the first half determine what they’re thinking and how they’re playing in the second half. The first half’s mistakes are so long gone and can’t be changed, yet players still dwell on them. It’s MADNESS. MADNESS I TELL YOU! You getting upset and frustrated about a missed foul call, a turnover, or a mistake by your teammate, doesn’t help anyone. Of course there are times where you need to call teammates out or make adjustments, but it has to be from the place of producing future positive results, not just lashing out. Too many players, coaches, and parents focus on the past and what coulda, shoulda, woulda happened. Don’t let that be you. All that matters is the present moment because it’s all you can control.

When you visualize a certain outcome and know where you’re headed, the past becomes more distant. A Jet Pilot has an extensive pre-flight checklist and details to go over before they take flight. There is a process and a procedure that is adhered to in order to maximize their performance and be as safe as possible. As a basketball player, your pre-training, pre-practice, and pre-game checklist are a process and procedure that ensures you’re maximizing your time on the court. If you want to be a standout player, you have to be prepared and a majority of your preparation is mental. Know what you want to accomplish in your training sessions. We call this “seeing the end in the beginning” which will make you intentional and ensure you achieve the results you want.

A Jet Pilot knows where they’re flying to and charts the course. Yes there are deviations and adjustments along the way because of turbulence or wind direction, but the end goal doesn’t change. You as a basketball player are encouraged to take the same approach and stop at nothing until you reach your goals. Will there be setbacks, adjustments, and new approaches you have to take? Of course there will be. But your mindset and your determination to succeed are what will set you apart from the rest of the players who just talk the talk but take no action. Talk the talk and walk the walk and don’t look back. You’re not going that way.

You’re on the path to move forward and reach your goals. Develop a short term memory when it comes to mistakes. Be sure to learn from them but don’t dwell and let them paralyze you. Take the lesson and keep improving as you’re taking more and more action. When you focus and chart your course of growth, make the adjustments and deviations necessary, but never give up on your goals. If you put in the smart work and hard work, you deserve every bit of success that you create. Remember, Jet Pilots don’t use rear view mirrors and as a basketball player, you don’t either.

Stay Relentless. Play the Optimum Way.

Article by Brandon Cochran

Co-Founder Optimum Basketball