On court confidence, taking it one play at a time

As a player and coach I have recently been living by a principle “one play at a time”. This principle has allowed me to not dwell on a mistake I made on court and focus on the current play.

In the years I have been a coach I regularly see young basketball players beating themselves up when they make a mistake. More often than not this causes them to make another mistake and so they continue to make mistakes, it’s a snow ball effect. This type of behaviour is related to CONFIDENCE.


Confidence is a huge part to being a good basketball player. If you’d like to play a high level of basketball having confidence in your ability is a must. On the flip side, do not be over confident. If you do not have the skill nor do you put in the hard work don’t think you are going to walk into a NBA team.

The definition of confidence in basketball is if you can play your normal game without worrying about making a mistake. You should feel comfortable with your skill level within the competition you are playing in.

Making mistake in a game

Making a mistake in a game is normal, it happens to everyone. We are human after all! But the way you bounce back from making a mistake is what defines you as a good basketball player.

Do you well on the errors you make? If you do then chances are that you are limiting yourself. I have seen this in many players. Heck, this was the case with me most of my basketball career. It was only recently that I implemented the “one play at a time” focus, which has made me into a more confident player.

Using the one play at a time principle, if you did make a mistake on court you forget about it and focus on the next play. You clear your mind from what happened in the past. By having laser focus on the current play you have the ability to zone in on what matters, the current play!

One play at a time principle

My principle of breaking a basketball game “one play at a time” has a lot of benefits. Firstly, it enables you to focus on smaller parts of the game and not worry about any other external factors that may add stress or pressure.

Secondly, it allows you to keep playing hard no matter the score line or the number of minutes left in the game.

Let me elaborate on these two points further.

Breaking a basketball game into each play will help you focus on the current play that you are running. Whether it is an offensive or defensive set. It is important when you are playing to stay focused on the now. Lose concentration and you make the wrong cut or lose sight of your player on d.

Having the ability to focus on one play at a time keeps your mind distracted from other things that have happened in the game.

A great way of furthering your basketball career is to show coaches and recruits that you play hard. Most players take the foot off the accelerator when they are 40 points up or down. Bad habit! You want to play hard every minute of the game as you never know if a coach or recruit is watching you.

Playing the game one play at a time forces you to play every possession like the game depends on it.

Final thoughts

Don’t let mistakes impact your game. Forget about it and move on to the next play. Take the game one play at a time and don’t let other external things distract you from your job.

It could be you that people watch on TV playing basketball

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