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Basketball Tip

How to Build Courage on the Basketball Court

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To build courage on the court you need the tool of encouragment which literally meants to build courage in the heart of someone else.

There is a fascinating and insightful correlation between encouragement and success. Just observe a team that is on fire: the crowd is going wild, the bench is on their feet, there is incredible energy in the air which makes you feel brave just listening to it. On the other hand, if a team is doing poorly, there is disappointment, judgment, and at the worst disgust. Unconsciously, we are naturally reinforcing either the good or the bad in both situations.

The key is learning to use encouragement in difficult times to change momentum, lessen fear, increase bravery, hope and energy levels.

Encouragement on the Court
Have you ever felt discouraged and then listened to an inspiring song? The feelings you have are synonyms for encouragement: you feel motivated, inspired, pumped up, energized. That is what encouragement does. If you have any doubt about the power of encouragement, watch a Seahawks home game. Crowd encouragement is considered one of the major momentum shifts in the Seahawks rise to the top..

Here are key ways to get encouraged before a game:
1. Listen to an inspiring song.
2. Memorize a motivating quote or verse.
3. Visualize a time you felt courageous and relive the memory in your mind.
4. Get your mind off of what you fear or what isn't working and focus on what you do well, what you are thankful for. The mind is powerful. If you focus on the negative, you get more negative. If you focus on what is working, you get more of what is working.

Here are key ways to use encouragement during a game:
1. Speak courage to others on your team-- encouragement is contagious
2. Yell something encouraging-- energy shifts quickly, keep it high by doing things which increase energy such as clapping your hands, cheering, and yelling.
3. Measure the energy of the team-- energy is a great indication of the health of the team. Low energy=bad performance. Find ways to increase the energy of your teammates. Notice what depletes energy. Become wise at when and how to encourage.


3 Keys to Using the Encouragement Tool Off the Court

1. Praise versus Encouragement. Words have tremendous power.Thanks to research we can now see just how powerful the words we say actually are. There are studies being done which show the difference between praise and encouragement. Research shows praise can actually be damaging to athletic performance whereas encouragement is a difference maker. As teammates, parents and coaches, we need to understand the difference between the two.

Key difference:when people praise others they often use words of comparison such as "You are the best... You are so smart... You were the star of the game." Even if there isn't a direct comparison used like "You are a way better athlete than so and so," comparison is still implied when you say, "You are so smart." Researchers found when people used praise which contained comparison words, the people they praised became worse. Their words did not build courage but instead took away courage and actually made kids risk less, work less, and give up more easily. Encouragement on the other hand uses words of courage and motivation. For example, "I saw how you pushed yourself on that last rep and I wanted to tell you what a great job you did. Your focus on the rim was very intense, that was amazing, keep it up! I watched you work on a skill you were struggling with and that really inspired me."
Work to encourage things a person can control: effort, discipline, attitude. Try to avoid praising things a person can't control.

2. 10 to 1. Thanks to John Gottman, researcher at the University of Washington, we have the game plan for good relationships. Whether it is teams, families, or siblings, all good relationships have five to ten positive word statements to every 1 negative or transactional word statement. Take all the words you say to yourself and put them in a jar. If the majority of the words you say are full of courage, you probably are a strong, courageous person. Do the same with the words you say to your family and your team. You will get a pretty quick picture on the health of your relationships. Do you have a relationship you need to improve? Gottman gives us the tool. 20 to 1. If the momentum is negative. You have to have 20 positive word statements to every 1 critique or negative word statement to get the relationship to a place of health.

3. Be in someone else's moment. With TVs on constantly in many homes and restaurants, not to mention cell phones, it is very hard in this current age to be present. If we aren't present, we won't be able to really see the other people in our lives with clarity. We can't speak courage to others if we don't know what is happening in their lives. Become willing to lay down your agenda and give someone your undivided attention. You will see just how difficult it is to remain fully present. Our homes and teams often have people functioning in total isolation. This robs people of their courage. You have the ability to infuse your home, school, and work place with courage but you have to be awake, present and courageous yourself in order to use encouragement effectively.

About NBC Basketball Camps
NBC Camps has grown to become the largest overnight basketball program in the world with locations around the United States, Canada, the UK, Austria, Italy and now Thailand. Campers have gone on to play in the NBA, WBNA, professionally overseas, and play or coach at many colleges and university programs. NBC Camps is a member of US Sports Camps network of outstanding summer sports camps throughout the world. Players, coaches, parents and members of the media interested in learning more about NBC Camps are invited to visit www.nbccamps.com or phone 1-800-406-3926.

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