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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2011, 11:24 

Posts: 2
I am a 15 year old boy. I have been playing basketball for around 3 years. I have been practicing mostly my shooting as well as my dribbling for about 24-30 hours per week. I am progressing in my athleticism. I have made a commitment to myself that i will become the greatest basketball player i can be. I want to show everyone my skills. I am a shooting guard: i am a consistent shooter and i have exceptionally good ball handling skills, in addition i am fast and energetic. During practices alone and with my friends I play very well, however in game situations i get extremely nervous and tense and my performance is not so good. I don't hit the shots, I don't know what to do with the ball, and i start making turnovers. I am really mad at myself because i am holding myself back because of this i want to show my coach and my team true potential as a shooting guard. I want the to know that i got game and that i really love the game of basketball. In games when i play away i want to shutdown the home crowd and the home team. I really feel that i can make it to professional basketball. But I'm holding myself back because i get nervous and tense during games. I try and try forget the fear of failure but i just can\'t. During games i don't think ahead, i don't know why though I, I give passes without thinking, sometimes i try to hide from the ball. I really need help with this. In practices my game is at top performance but not in matches :(. If I can manage to play at my true level during a match, i will enjoy basketball a lot more.

Yours Sincerely,
Vien Ton Athens, Greece

PostPosted: 29 Apr 2011, 14:53 
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Posts: 3139
I know this is easier said than done but, you need to relax and have some FUN.... remember, its a game. I understand that you want to do well and be the best you can be, but don't get so worked up that you cant function on the floor.
Who is putting all these high expectations on you? Yourself? If so, set some realistic goals to work towards... make sure they are achievable .... then you can always set the bar higher as you go along.
Think about professional baseball players..... they get millions for hitting .285 or .300 ...... that means they are failing 70% olf the time. So relax, you're a 15 year old boy, NOT a college player or a Man....... enjoy the game and do the best you can, thats all anyone can ask of you.
I think you need to get some more playing time in somewhere, at the park or wherever playing some pickup games....... find some older guys to play with too, that way you will have to play harder and that will help to make you better.
But most of all, RELAX and have FUN!!

PostPosted: 29 Apr 2011, 15:10 
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Posts: 180
Location: Miami, Fl.
You truly are the example of the mental part of the game overpowering the physical. What you suffer from in performance anxiety. It is very much wrapped up in your own self image and confidence. It is certainly more involved than can be covered here.
We can use all the cliches such as relax, have confidence, don't worry, etc. but those are really hollow words without meaning. In reality, the only one that can help you is you.

Experience and practice will solve some of it. Proving to yourself the things that you can do will overpower your concerns. Things like believing that just because you miss a shot doesn't mean that you forgot how to shoot. You can do things perfectly and still get a bad outcome. You have to accept that. The best shooters in the world miss more than half the time. The best ball handlers in the world still lose the ball. If you can't accept that, you can't play.

There is a book that i give to all my professional clients. It is named "Zen Golf." You can get it on It is a book about golf, but more it is a book about thinking and trusting yourself. You might find it interesting.

Remember, it is just a game. If you miss a shot, nobody will die. If you lose the ball, your family will still love you. Nobody is perfect. Perfection is a nice ideal but if you try to achieve it, if you start to expect it, you will always be disappointed. Sport is not an exercise in perfect, but rather in error. It is how you handle failure, not success, that measures your potential greatness.

In the words of American song writer Bobby McFerrin, "don't worry, be happy." You'll play better too.

By the way, every summer I do a basketball clinic in Olympia. You should try to come.

Don Kelbick

PostPosted: 04 May 2011, 08:41 

Posts: 2
Thanks for the reply, I thought i wouldn't get a reply but i did. This means a lot.


PostPosted: 04 May 2011, 11:37 
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Posts: 3139
Anytime we can be of help, don't hesitate to ask.....

Good luck, now relax and have some fun.

PostPosted: 04 Jun 2011, 21:06 
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Posts: 315
Vien: You want to show your coach, show your teammates, you want to play professional basketball, you want to shut down the home crowd, shut down the home team. You have all these things you want to do and by doing this, you are merely placing undue pressure on yourself. Coach Sars gave some good advice about creating certain goals for yourself and following through with them. When you begin to talk about hiding from the ball, that is "fear of failure" and by doing that, you are no earthly good to any team. By playing the game you are already informing people that you love basketball. However, you are damaging that love for the game by trying to accomplish all the things you have spoken about. Small steps my young friend, one thing at a time. Anyone that puts in 30 40 hours per week working on individual skills can only get better. Take the pressure off of yourself and accomplish one thing at a time. It could be as simple as allowing yourself one or two turnovers per game. Or establishing a goal of passing with a purpose not just to get rid of the ball. If you are a shooting guard, then be a shooter. If the shot is there and you have a good look at the basket, take the shot if you have the talent you say you have then eventually the ball will begin to drop. Chill out a bit young man you are only 15. Coach Mac

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