Earlier this year

Mental Resillience

Hey all,

Just wondering if you could help me out with some research.

I'd love to know what your opinion is on mental toughness and how important it is compared to physical skillset.

And also, how do you develop this or teach this as a player, a leader, a coach or an organisation.


Topic #45396 | Report this topic

Earlier this year

Mental toughness is more important than physical gifts. Plenty of talented, lengthy kids out there that are failing.

But obviously to have both is the main thing.

I'd say it largely depends on environment. I see a lot of kids at the same clubs with extreme talent fall further behind their peers year on year. Not that hard to figure out where this happens and why.

Reply #748197 | Report this post

Paul Lyons  
Earlier this year

A negative mind will never give you a positive life.
Mental Toughness -essentially a fusion of resilience and confidence (as per the Clough and Strycharczyk mental toughness model ) is vital for performance and wellbeing in all walks of life but especially in basketball . Our sons play school and rep and its easy to notice thorough training sessions and matches that the best players are persistent ,consistent and with extreme focus on the present . They are able to manage their emotions and play the same way if they are 20 points up or 20 points down or perhaps more pertinently 2 points up or 2 points down . They don't over celebrate the highs or over demonise the lows.
Talent and Physical attributes help but in my opinion a strong mindset trumps both .
You can measure it now through the simple and scientific online MTQ mental toughness tests which then provide a base line from which to develop it .
I'm happy to chat further -Paul Lyons at Mental Toughness Partners .

Reply #748199 | Report this post

Earlier this year

How important is it?
THE most important thing!
Sooooo many players have talent but never fulfill their potential as they are mentally weak. Conversely there are players who aren't blessed with God's physical gifts but become very good players due to the mental toughness they have or cultivate. How do you develop it or teach it? That's a very good question. Some say you either have it or you don't. i.e you can't put in what God left out.
I think that is part of it but you can certainly become tougher through training out of your comfort zone. Being pushed to your (in your mind), limits. Invariably you can go beyond what you believe you are capable off but unless you are FORCED to go there, you never think you can.

Reply #748200 | Report this post

Earlier this year

"Toughness" has some overly masculine connotations.

I prefer to think of it in terms of focus and concentration.
And part of that, perhaps the most important part is the ability to ignore distractions and irrelevancies.

In a sport such as basketball, physical attributes will always play a part. Those can be built upon by improving strength, fitness, etc.
Then you have what is loosely termed "natural ability" which can be regarded as how good somebody is without practice. And naturally those skills can be improved with practice.
What many people don't understand is just how import focus & concentration is when training.
As a simple example: If you stand randomly at the line, casually throwing balls at the hoop, whilst chatting or thinking about your girlfriend, etc, it doesn't matter how much you practice you will simply teach yourself to be a mediocre FF shooter.

Then of course you have knowledge & intellect. BBall isn't just a shooting contest. At the elite level, many would argue that running the plays, and defending, is just as important as ability. So again focus and concentration comes into learning and executing those plays.

What you might call "execution" is pulling it all together in the game. And there, Focus is everything.

I would argue that the difference between very good players & teams, that win a lot of games,
and GREAT players & teams, that win close games and championships, is their ability to focus and continue executing under extreme pressure.

I'll give you two examples:
Go back and what some of the classic Jordan games. He was a talented player anyway, but his ability to stay focussed no matter the score, or the preceding play, is what won him those rings. As a classic example have a watch of the "Flu Game." (Probably actually food poisoning.) He was literally physically too weak to be on court, yet led his team to victory through sheer willpower.

The other example is Rotnei Clarke. As an average 6ft white kid, he basically has no business being a professional baller. Yet he has worked his arse off to develop above average skills, and become a truly elite shooter.
The legend says that as a kid he would shoot 500 baskets a night. That might be an embellishment but I think indicates his focus and dedication.

Reply #748212 | Report this post

Earlier this year

I believe the DRIVE of the player is vital. There are parents who force their kid to play ball when really there is zero interest and you can see it on the court.

Parental encouragement, time sacrificed, and financial support is vital also. However, WITHOUT GOOD COACHING then talent cannot be nourished and developed, just like going to school and having a terrible teacher, the student will never excel, reach their full potential etc. - they will lose interest.

Coaches need to teach resilience just like it is taught at school from an early age. Resiliency can be improved through discipline, trust and creating routine.

Along with all of the above there are then the politics that go on in basketball left, right and centre. If parents can't control their frustrations how do you expect their kids to do the same?

Clubs hold holiday camps to help with skills but where is the motivational/psychological support? If there is talent within the team and everything is at a standstill then something is very wrong. Why not get a motivational speaker in or a high-profile player to come and share their own experiences and struggles?

Reply #748227 | Report this post

Earlier this year

some need more than others as a junior depending on how much of an arsehole their crap coach is and how much they blame the players for their own incompetence, and if their club can be bothered to get rid of those coaches and allow them to flourish instead or protecting their mates. Don't always judge players on how they respond, look at what they are responding to first and ask if their response is what most would have in that situation and ask yourself if you would be happy in that situation when another can have such an impact on your future, likely not. Sometimes the coach is wrong

Reply #748263 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Anonymous - yeah correct sometimes coaches get it wrong but sometimes players get it wrong thinking they are something they are not. Parents definitely get it wrong. Parents can put a lot of pressure on kids. Parents need to learn resilience and resist putting their child on a pedestal when they really need to be on a stool.

Reply #748285 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Baller sometimes coaches need balls. Some put players on pedestals when they should be on stools and other times there are players who should be put on pedestals who are left on doormats. It can work both ways so have some balls and lay down some ground rules so that parents not all of whom have basketball backgrounds understand how it works.

Reply #748289 | Report this post

Big baller  
Earlier this year

And sometimes there are players who shouldn't even be on the team where it defies all logic.

Reply #748290 | Report this post

Earlier this year

And sometimes boys should not pretend to be men and learn to be accountable for their own actions and not shove their incompetence on to others. And maybe people should stop diverting blame for the rise of frustration on parents the eternal scapegoat and have a good look at the truth. Some coaches are shit and always will be. I only hope that those shift coaches will have karma back at them when their own kids have the same taste of it and only then will they understand. But then again I don't wish that on any child. A whole lot of things have to fall in to place for a player to realise their potential and there are so many that have the wrong journey through no fault of their own and others who land on the right path. You never hear about them but there is a good chance despite working hard and having talent they had bad experiences and a lack if opportunity. Coaches need to get their heads out fo their arses and think about why they are coaching. Its selfless and about those you coach, its actually not about you and if you don’t understand that you will never have real success and players that will look back in years to come and say you made a difference, its not just about basketball. The true reward of coaching is to see each and every player reach their potential no matter how small or grand and to have gained the respect of all including parents. The behaviour of many coaches in any other scenario would be frowned upon and in a workplace with children sackable, but once again in sport, abuse and assaults are fair game and children bear the brunt of many a coaches selfishness and self righteousness thinking they can treat children like pawns in their own private game amongst coaches. Its like a gang that players have to be initiated in to at times and often not about the talent or the best interest of the team as a whole. It takes years of education and supervised experience to be a teacher in anything, for coaching you just have to know someone who will give you the gig and there is an assumption if you can play you can coach. Well we all went to school but most of us would be shit teachers and we all know how many those there are and how well some schools are doing.

Reply #748319 | Report this post

Earlier this year

I find it interesting that everyone is happy to say how crap a premier league coach is on this forum and the impact on players but when it comes to juniors the coaches are not the problem. Food for thought ! I guess some people don't like parents who made their measure and called them on their BS Fake coaching.

Reply #748326 | Report this post

Earlier this year

@CoachCal -

'mental toughness and how important it is compared to physical skill set'

'how do you develop this or teach this as a player, a leader, a coach or an organisation'.

That's actually quite a bit that you are asking for, so if you want to research this I suggest start using your research skills and get onto a computer, there is quite a bit on this topic if you look for it.

I recall these topics being quite influential and taught at junior State level basketball, I know it is a focus of the AIS level athletes and the ability for a player to cope with elite level expectations is just as important as his/her skill set, if not more so.

The fact is that you can't really have one without the other!

As I have mentioned, there is so much to unpack on what you are seeking that a forum like this will always be subjective and limited so I encourage you to do your own research first and if you have specific questions maybe someone here can help clarify a point for you...

These are a start, if you care to read some interesting stuff:

Reply #748379 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Hi all,

I just want to thank you all for your input on this topic.

It was something that I struggled with growing up through Juniors and even had a Premier League level.

In turn it's driven me to help that next generation with Performance Mindset.

I love the different perspectives that you all have given.


Reply #748613 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Thanks Bear for those links above, especially the Greg Hire article. Recently did a mental health first aid course and it was extremely helpful. Most if not all organisations have a physical first aider, now mental health is finally getting identified and trying to catch it as early as possible. In junior sport there is definitely more pressure on kids these days, more in elite level I believe, but also lower levels. Kids are picked out as the next big thing straight out of primary school, insane amounts of money is spent on personal coaching etc to give them the edge. Then if they don't make a rep team or college scholarship they get perceived as failures. Abuse from sidelines is out of control and I saw an under 14 girls coach kicking chairs and swearing at them after a loss. IMO he not only should have been banned from club but entire competition. But there he was the next week after a chat from the div 1 coach on the sidelines without any ramifications, don't know if any of the girls were spoken to or even counseled.
The stats are frightening about mental health, young mens suicide is nearly the leading cause of death but not really spoken about as being taboo.

Reply #748634 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Good job CoachCal.

Reply #748636 | Report this post

Earlier this year

Yep alot of gangs of coaches protecting their mates over the players wellbeing saying suck it up its part of sport and then parents who are standing up and saying no its not good enough labelled the problem. Absolutely disgraceful from clubs. It is rife.

Reply #748671 | Report this post


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