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Basketball Game Psychology and Strategy

All coaches should appreciate the importance of the appearance of their team. A well dressed team is enthusiastic and happy. They even  look like they want to play. A good state of mind is not likely to be present if the team is self-conscious because of ragged uniforms. Your team should be well-dressed but not exaggeratedly dressed.

Before the game

Don't over-coach.  "A little learned well is better than a lot done poorly" is a good truism to follow. Most teams perform better a little under-coached than over-coached. The desire to play must be retained in order to have that natural gusto so noticeable in most younger athletes. It is also good psychology for the coach to have physical and mental behavior at all times. This calmness breeds player confidence. "Acting" by the coach weakens his judgment and causes players to lose confidence.

Basketball is an emotional game; however, players usually work harder under stress of emotion. A wise and observant coach will recognize the proper emotional pitch.

The coach's poise helps the players develop their confidence. This trait, in the right degree affects the mental condition and necessary relaxation of the athlete. The player possessing the right confidence will not be bothered with the two evils, overconfidence and lack of confidence.

Overconfidence, in addition to the fighting heart of the underdog, creates a lot of upsets. The former, overconfidence, robs the player of his mental and physical aggressiveness. This condition can only be fixed through a couple defeats. A coach can fight this condition by arousing a fear of defeat. You can accomplish this by using a bulletin board for clippings, write-ups, and statistics of opponent's best games. The coach could emphasize the opponent's strength where his team is weakest. Another way to meet this condition is to temporarily bench a player and let somebody play who wants to play.

If the team is in the favorable situation as underdog, the coach's problem is that of building confidence, hope, desire, and enthusiasm. Some coaches are masters of the art of getting the team at the right pitch, where they have diminished the proficiency of the opponents to the high opinion which shows his players tat defeating the opponent is not impossible. They are fired-up, yet under control, and can see the added standing of victory over that favored team. The players call on that physical and mental reserve which places them on another level of performance. This is accomplished through encouragement and good leadership.

At the half

Most coaches have a fixed policy for procedure between half-time. This should be established at the first game of the year in the interests of efficiency and organization. No one, except the squad and members of the athletic department, should be allowed in the dressing room . The players should immediately lie down and relax. It is important that everyone be quite for five or six minutes to permit complete relaxation. The trainer, or coaching assistant, should cleanse the faces and necks of players with cold towels.

This is a period of rest and not a egg on session. Meanwhile, coaches can be outside the dressing room discussing strategy for the second half. After the relaxation period, the coach can cover mistakes and the progress of the first half. Next, the coach should explain the plan for the second half, stressing no more than about two main points. If a coach asks his players to remember too may things, the team would have been better had the coach forgotten which dressing room his team was in. Be sure to give encouragement to the players who need encouragement and express confidence in the team before they go back on court.

Basketball is fun and should be played for fun. Sometimes coaches get wrapped up in the interests of the team and forget this fact. A burning desire to have his team just right for certain games often lends to over keying. This causes tenseness which is an enemy to good shooting and the team will not play as well as normal. If the team is composed of players who have the team's interest at heart, they will do a better job of keying themselves, than the coach.

After the game

If the team played a good game, but lost, tell them so with honest feeling. If they played a poor game, and won, tell them they were lucky and not to be too proud of their victory. Refraining from criticizing a player in defeat immediately after the game is good policy. Give the player time to settle down and think things over. You can cover things in detail the next day.

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