How To Improve Confidence In Basketball | 6 Key Tips To Supreme Confidence

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I am sure that you have heard the old but very true saying that “The game of basketball is 80% mental and 20% physical”. This may sound a bit over exaggerated but if you think about it, it kind of makes sense.

You can have all the basketball skills in the world, but if you’re not strong mentally and confident in you abilities, you would never reach your full potential as a basketball player. That why having confidence is a MAJOR KEY in becoming successful on the court.

Look at all the greats like Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, And Michael Jordan. They were all supremely confident in their basketball skills and everyone knew it.

Especially the defenders who had the difficult task of guarding them that night.

Some experts and gurus think your only born with that type of boldness and confidence which is completely FALSE. You can either be born with it or develop it over time.

Having and maintaining confidence is like a muscle. The more you focus on it and work it out, the stronger it grows. Also, the less you work on it, the weaker it gets. So it flows both ways.

Read on below to find out exactly How to Improve Confidence In Basketball.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice


The BEST cure for having a lack of confidence is simply just working on your basketball skills. Finding a ball and a hoop (sometimes even not a hoop, just a ball), and just practicing constantly on your skills as a player.

And I am not talking about the practice where you go to the park or the gym and just play pickup basketball games with weak competition.

I am talking about the quality basketball workouts where they simulate real game situations and your going game speed. The workouts where you are bent over and drenched in sweat.

Those are the workouts that transform you from a bench player into an star player.

If you are doing workouts like that in the off-season, both your confidence and skill level will be threw the roof.

That is why you couldn’t tell Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant nothing about their skill-sets because they knew what they were capable of and was going to set out to do just that.

Note: If you don’t know or have any clue on what type of basketball drills and workouts you should be doing to improve your skills, click this link right now.

2. Build Yourself

You may not have control over on how tall you can grow, but you can for sure get stronger, faster, and more athletic. Just knowing that your a stronger player than you was before can instantly increase your basketball confidence.

That is why you always see those muscle-heads in the weight room looking at themselves in the mirror. Getting stronger can just make the game easier for you.

You are able to absorb the hits and bumps instead of getting knocked off your game, be able to box out bigger players and grab more rebounds, defend stronger and bigger players, and take advantages of basketball players that are smaller than you.

Plus, if your building your body and increasing your overall athleticism, you would just take your game and confidence to a whole new level.

Your first step would be quicker so you will be able to blow past your defenders and you will be able to play above the rim which is the best part.

Every time you attack the rim, you would just be daring somebody to jump with you so you can slam it down on their head. Them are the type of basketball plays that boosts your overall confidence and puts fear into your opponents.

Note: If your a serious basketball player looking to increase your athleticism and vertical, click this link to start your training right now.

3. Visualization Your Performance

Visualization aka mental imagery is one the most under-rated, but super effective, techniques for increasing your confidence on the basketball court.

It is the process of using all 5 of your senses such as feeling, seeing, tasting, smelling, and hearing to rehearse in your mind what you would want to happen in your sport. Simple right? I know.

Visualizing your next sporting event helps you control the anxiety you feel during competition, keep you motivated and focus during competition, and keep you mentally sharp during an injury.

By rehearsing your sporting event the way you want it to happen, your left in a calm and relaxed state of mind, and all you have to do next is ‘step into’ that feeling.

For example, a basketball player would visualize how the basketball feels in their hand, the crowd cheering, the smell of the gym, seeing themselves make the game wining shot, etc… I am sure you get the idea.

Now visualizing is a skill and just like with any other skill, it gets better over time with practice. So don’t be discouraged or frustrated if your visions are blurry or you keep getting distracted, just keep trying and use as much detail as possible.

Mental preparation is a major key to playing to your fullest potential as a basketball player, click here to learn what you need to do to prepare mentally for your next sporting event.

How to Visualize:

  1. Find a nice and quiet area where you know you won’t be disturbed. Avoid laying down so you won’t be tempted to fall asleep.
  2. Take a few deep breaths and then close your eyes
  3. Begin to visualize your sporting event and be as detailed as possible.

Note: I recommend you visualize for 10-15 mins each session and work your way up as you gain more experience.

4. Affirmations That Keep You On Track

Affirmations are easy and simple. If you commit to them, they’ll work wonders for your confidence and performance.

They are nothing more than just positive self-statements that are used to combat the negative self talk and false beliefs, motivate you to finish strong during an grueling workout, keep your mind on the right track in competition especially when your going through an slump, and help you develop a new attitude about yourself.

Athletes across all sports use “I am” statements to fuel their peak performance and keep them focus on their goals. These statements are just little reminders of your true athletic potential.

Examples of “I am” affirmations:
  • I am the best basketball player in the state
  • I am unstoppable with the basketball in my hands
  • I am going to dominate the competition

Affirmations may come off corny and lame at first especially when your saying ‘I am the best basketball player on the court” and your not even the best basketball player on your team.

But once you repeat them to yourself often, your mind begins to believe them, and your performance follows. Your affirmations don’t even have to start with “I am”. All they need to be is short and meaningful to You.

Examples of general affirmations:
  • I know my shot is going in when I shoot
  • Nobody can guard me
  • Pain is temporary

Now affirmations may be powerful, but they do not replace hard work. You have to think and train like a champion to become a champion. You can’t have one without the other, just don’t work that way.

I recommend having affirmations for both competition and when your training. So just think of a couple affirmations that you feel are meaningful and say them to yourself throughout the day and when your playing your sport. Soon they will become apart of your identity and it will show in your performance.

5. Surround Yourself With Winners


It is so important for your confidence and state of mind to surround yourself with people who want to see you accomplish your goals.

Having a good support system around you can pick you up when your down on yourself, believe in you when you don’t even believe in yourself, give you the necessary constructive criticism without being negative, and just be there when you need them.

Often times in life people will often try to crap on your dreams and goals just because they had the same treatment done to them at one point in their lives.

These are the people you need to distance yourself from whether it be friends or even family because they will do everything to in their power to distract you and bring you down to their level.

So recognize and be aware of those negative influences like that in your life because they will only slow you down. And If you don’t have a good support system around you, you have to be your own biggest fan and believe in yourself to make your goals turn into reality.

6. Fear No Failure


The greatest teacher in life is experience. A great way to gain confidence is putting yourself in pressure situations and rising to the occasion. Even if you fail, you take pride in that failure and learn from it, then at it.

If you ever wan to have UNDENIABLE confidence in yourself and in your sport, you can’t fear failure.

The fear of failure will always keep you from taking risks such as taking the game winning shot, being a leader on your team, or finally trying that move out in the game which you been working so hard on in practice. These type of risks shows you what your made of and provides guidance on what you need to work on within your game.

Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time and he knew that to reach his full potential as a basketball player, he could not be afraid to fail. He was trusted 26 times to take the game winning shot and he missed. But he didn’t let that discourage or doubt himself, he used it as motivation to better his game.

That is how you evolve as a human being and a athlete.

So don’t be afraid to step out your comfort zone, it is the key to success in your sport and increasing your confidence.

The Bottom Line

Confidence is everything, there is no success in your sport if your not confident in yourself and abilities. If you want to be confident and believe in your abilities, you have to put in the work for it.

The tips I outlined above on How To Improve Confidence in Basketball will FOR SURE increase your overall confidence and can be implemented in all areas of life other than the sport you play.

I hope you enjoyed this article and encourage you to share it with a friend or teammate and help them boost their confidence as well. If you have any questions or want to share some of your personal tips on confidence, leave an comment below. I would love to hear.


12 thoughts on “How To Improve Confidence In Basketball | 6 Key Tips To Supreme Confidence

  1. Hi David, Being a fan of basketball, (both college and pro) since the late 1960s, for a fact the greatest players in that sport in fact have an air of almost arrogance, (to a higher level in just having confidence) concerning their basketball abilities. Michael Jordan being a prime example, he thought there was not a player in the world capable of guarding him when he set his mind on converting a key basket, especially during a crucial time of any game.

    In the same vein, Larry Bird when he was at the height of his NBA playing abilities in the mid-1980s used to trash talk during games to his opponents, brashly stating that there was no way on Earth that any of them could guard him. In an NBA all-star game 3-point contest one year in which Bird had entered, just before it was held he went up to each of his opponents to ask them which one would be coming in 2nd place as in his mind he had the winning trophy guaranteed locked up in is favor. And Bird went on to win that contest!

    I do agree that the other tips- proper training, (that also includes eating the right foods), visualization, practicing both during and especially the off-season to hone one’s skills,affirmation and having great teammates is important. I also might add in one more – having a coach especially early during a player’s development, who will teach him, (or her) the proper fundamentals of the sport – shooting, dribbling, passing, and playing defense.

    They say that the problem with many young basketball players today, (even those in college) is that many of them have such poor fundamentals. This is attributed to the fact that AAU basketball has unfortunately grown to such importance here in the U.S. And with that, the further problem is that these AAU coaches don’t preach and practice the fundamentals of basketball, which would also include teamwork during games. Too many players who have jumping ability in high school, goaded on by these AAU coaches work on their repertoire of dunks instead of practicing proper shooting form as well as getting into fundamental defensive positions when guarding an opponent.

    Great article, David.


  2. Your article is great and gets me to thinking about my own confidence. Your analogy of the players on a team and what we all go through is relative to many events that we all encounter at different points of our lives. So very true about many things that happen to many people without even realizing it as we go through our blue marble. There are things in life that happen and there are no answers to, and thus our life continues. Many thanks for your great article.

  3. Great article. Like the part about the visualizations and the self affirmations. I have been teaching that same concept to my son regarding baseball. I totally believe in the power of positive thinking and surrounding yourself with positive people. Having the self confidence is just as much a part of the training as building your body and practicing your skills.
    Well Done!

  4. Hi! Great Post! I think being confident helps not just in sports, but in other aspects of life as well. All successful businessmen (and women) are confident.
    I have been playing basketball since elementary school, and I totally agree with you, the most confident person ends up becoming the star in the game.
    I also like how you talk about visualization. It is the first time I see this concept. It’s very interesting. I will definitely try it next time I play.
    I really enjoy reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Quite a very powerful six ways to improve self-confidence in basketball. The best part for me is fear no failure. Becuase sometimes it is inevitable but the truth is how many times one gets back up.

    Very inspirational read I must confess and it does good that I basketball is my favorite game.

    Thanks for sharing I will be visiting this site more now.

  6. I gave out a “wow when I read this article. I must admit that I was a bit reluctant to read since I am not a sports fan. I am happy I read though. Permit me to point out that you just gave some tips that are applicable outside of basketball. I am an advocate for working hard in order to achieve. Yes, like you stated practice and really more practice. Isn’t it a reality that we perfect things by repeating our actions? Yes, this is so for basketball and other sports. I appreciate this powerful reminder.

    See it and receive it is how I sum up the section on visualization. I totally appreciate this point. As an educator, I try to help my students to visualize their future. This way I get them to work hard at their goals. I see how I can use this article to help my students and so I will be making reference to it in the future.

    I use failure as a guide to my success. It provides me with a list of what to avoid and gets me thinking about improvements and so my creative juices flow after a failure, which is then followed by unbelievable successes. This article for me is the winner of the week and I bookmarked to be used in class. Talk about durrounding yourself with winners? I just did. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Just like these topics apply to basketball, you can apply them to other areas of life as well.

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