Improve Your Basketball Mentality by Learning from Derrick Rose — Eliminate Your Fear of Failure

By Jeff Haefner

If you watched the Bulls last night (who won by the way), you would have seen Derrick Rose commit numerous turnovers and shoot multiple air balls in the 4th quarter.

I remember at least two shots that totally missed everything.  Complete air balls!

Yet D-Rose stayed aggressive.  He still wanted the ball.  He didn’t hesitate on his next shot and he kept shooting without a second thought.

Granted, Derrick Rose needs to work on cutting down his turnovers (I think he had 6 in the second half)…  BUT you can still learn from his mentality…

D-Rose shows perseverance (a word I have mentioned in our player development program many times).   He is resilient, relentless, and has NO fear of failure.

He threw up two air balls, made several turnovers, but he was still the most important player on the floor.

So when YOU (as a high school, middle school, or youth player) get down about missing a couple shots, a lay up, or losing the ball… how CRAZY is that?!!!

Why in the world would you get down about missing a couple lay ups or shots when Derrick Rose, who will most likely be the NBA MVP this year, still shoots air balls and makes numerous mistakes in the NBA?

The best players in the world make mistakes.  So it’s ludicrous for YOU to get down or discouraged about making a couple mistakes.

Too many young players get discouraged and let a couple mistakes affect their play.  I see it all the time.  But when you stop to think about it, those mistakes shouldn’t affect you and it’s not a big deal.

In the first two playoff games Derrick Rose missed his first 10 three point shots!  That’s right, 10 in a row.  But he didn’t stop shooting and he made his 11th attempt, which was a big shot that helped the Bulls win the game.

Basketball is a game of mistakes. Everyone shoots air balls, misses lay ups, trips, loses the ball, and makes mistakes.  You need to accept that.  You need to realize that just because you missed 10 shots in a row, doesn’t mean you won’t make the next one.

If you want to become a better player, accept the fact that you are going to make mistakes in games.  Don’t let that affect your next play.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!   If the best players in the world make mistakes, you should not be afraid to make them.

I hope this helps put things in perspective for you.  So when you make a couple mistakes, you just learn from them and stay aggressive.  Be resilient.  Show perseverance.  Stay positive and you will become a better player!


  1. Kelvin — April 20, 2011 @ 1:49 am

    Is there any place in Malaysia that can Improve me and my team skills ?

  2. Bojo — April 27, 2011 @ 5:40 am

    Is there any way a training camp can be organised for players in Botswana? Being in Africa is a huge disadvantage almost all the time….:’(

  3. ann macharia — April 27, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    how can i get a basketball scholarship and is their any place i can get more training pliz encourage kenyans government to teens upgrade their talents especially in highschools

  4. henry d — April 27, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    if basketball is a game of mistakes, why should players fear of failure? we are bound to make errors. following d rose’s perseverance, it boils down to one thing. if coaches understand his players’missed layups and open jumpers; and losing the game due to a short free throw, then there’s no need to be angry. shooting bricks and throwing air balls are common. all coaches can do is, find a way to minimize those errors. how to overcome fear itself is what concerns us most.

  5. Griffin — April 29, 2011 @ 4:04 am

    Thanks alot for your article. I totally agree with you. Usually a previous mistake exerts pressure and compels most players who are great to play an okay game, this shouldn’t happen. Every time we get a chance to play, we should bring the best of ourselves. I love the NBA because we get to learn from the best, so, for the point-guards out there, lets ‘copy – paste’ Rose’s resilience.

  6. darrell brown — June 10, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    i live in peoria il i can play 6’5 and the half the all most there working every day

  7. lakri — August 30, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    @Henry D: couldn’t agree more. Coaches should let players make mistakes instead of letting the player ‘have it’. Practice is the time and place to help the player work on their mistakes and give them the confidence they’ll need in games. Fearing to fail stops (creativity) development.

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