Randal S. Doaty
Focus & Attitude Coach
It doesn’t take too much convincing to make people believe that a good attitude is important in almost every aspect of life. Before we understand what a good attitude really is, we need to have a definition of attitude. Our attitude is really a mental state that has either a positive, neutral or negative charge. The difference between someone with a good attitude is usually quite different than someone with a negative attitude. So which attitude is really the best attitude for basketball? The answer will surprise you!
The correct answer is “neutral attitude”. Most coaches will argue that a player with a positive attitude will perform better. In my experience, a player with a positive attitude is much more enjoyable to be around, but the positive nature of their attitude has some real negative potential. A player with a positive attitude tends to become more quickly disenchanted when they encounter negative circumstances. They jump quickly from a positive to negative mental state.
As a Focus & Attitude Coach, I like to train basketball players to have a neutral attitude. This is neither overtly positive or excessively negative. I refer to the optimal mental state of basketball performance to be the “Neutral Now”. This references a neutral attitude and a focus on the present moment. When a player reaches this state they will find that their athletic abilities just seem to come naturally – their performance zone.
Many coaches love to offer pre-game talks that are charged with emotionally stimulating speeches, quotes or athletic war stories. The reason for these motivational moments is to stimulate adrenalin and positively charge the athlete’s state of mind. In reality, the players would be better getting into a transcendental state of mind in preparation to play. Most players practice in a neutral state of mind and will therefor perform better in the same neutral state of mind. Positive attitudes don’t always help an athlete!