A tremendous impact opportunity for basketball coaches is the stage that the sport provides to instill success habits in their players that will can last a lifetime. Basketball is more than just a sport, it can be one of the best preparations for life after school that a young person can experience.
One way that I have tried to take advantage of the teachable moments is to have a “thought for the day” before every practice. It might be an inspirational quote, a snippet or idea from a book or an article, or an observation from one of the coaches about the team.
The thought has to fit the following three criteria before we will use it.
1) I want the thought to be something that will improve their “mental game” to contribute to them having the most rewarding season of their basketball careers.
2) The thought must be in line with our program’s core values. I want it to enhance the trademarks we emphasize, and not contribute to information overload
3) It must be something that will have value for all areas of their lives, not just basketball,
The thought for the day is so important to developing the mindset we feel that we must have to be successful. I believe that mental toughness is one of the most important skills to have in a winning program. To develop that needed mental toughness, we teach attitude and effort every day. I also like to place the thoughts for the day in players’ notebooks and on the bulletin boards and locker room walls.
Here are just a few examples of some of the past thoughts of the day that we have used. I hope they give you some ideas to find and create inspirational basketball quotes to pass on to your team.
- We practice and play with the intensity, toughness, and togetherness of a state championship team every day.
- The game honors toughness-Brad Stevens
- Players play, but tough players win-Tom Izzo
- United we stand, divided we fall
- Never mistake activity for achievement-John Wooden
- We are relentless!
I like to present the thought of the day at the beginning of practice and ask for the players input as to how it applies to both our team and their lives. Then, as the practice unfolds, if there are times to apply the Thought for the Day to situations that arise, I make sure to capitalize on those teachable moments. Finally, we huddle at the end of practice to quickly review the practice and include the Thought for the Day as a part of that recap.
I firmly believe that basketball coaches that define and then establish a success mindset will be more successful in both the long and short run. The short run being the players’ experience both in basketball and in other areas of his or her life. The long run, being the much more important growth toward becoming a productive, contributing, and happy adult. Having a specific them for each day helps with that success mindset process.
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