Whether you believe you can or you can’t – you’re right!

Coaching basketball skills

This is a common saying often branded as a cheesy motivational poster strap line. But be careful,dig beyond and you may find something useful……the astounding power of beliefs……

During the Olympics we saw many mis-matched games on paper and one of them was Spain verus USA. However, just imagine what would happen if we hypnotised the Spanish basketball team into thinking,…..no….. believing, they where the dream team. They would believe they had all the history and prowess that the dream team have and especially the intimidating reputation earned by the USA. Now you may say, “so what , they don’t have the talent so it wouldn’t make a difference“. Well, we beg to differ and the science on this matter will make the same argument.

The structure of a belief is essentially to delete counter examples to itself. Stop….Think….. How powerful is this ? If you believe you can’t do something you will find evidence to support that belief and disregard anything that tells you different. Vice versa. Of course you need to get believing that YOU CAN accomplish you’re goals. So, here it is I’m going to give away the greatest secret in sport psychology and the achievement of excellence and a great way to make use of belief structures.

1. Identify your target state (a performance, or a quality like relaxation etc.)

2. Elicit, encourage and AMPLIFY any responses or behaviour that takes you towards your target.

3. Anything that happens to take you away from your target DIDN’T HAPPEN

4. Anything that happens to take you away from your target DIDN’T HAPPEN

5.Anything that happens to take you away from your target DIDN’T HAPPEN AND

6. Anything that happens to take you away from your target DIDN’T HAPPEN

7 .Continue to Elicit, encourage ,notice AMPLIFY and DEEPEN any responses or behaviour that takes you towards your target.

Now let’s remember to take this process up a notch. In a competitive environment It is not enough to believe in your own ability to achieve. As you believe in your success you must make your opponent believe in their failure. My advice to the Spainish dream team :-) would be identify the target state you would like the USA to be in ,i.e. insecure, discouraged, lethargic . Elicit and encourage any responses that could possibly resemble the target state and make them so obvious and that the become quickly reinforced within the USA team.

Work hard and watch psychology become the court of play, basketball needs surprises……