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Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 1:00 pm  |  4 responses

The Hoops Whisperer on Nerves, Preparation

Send Idan your questions!

He’s back. After a successful string of columns, we took a couple more of your questions and posed them to Idan Ravin, a.k.a. The Hoops Whisperer, for his column in SLAM 146. Below, are the answers from the man who’s trained LeBron, Carmelo, CP3, KD and many more elite NBA players. Enjoy!

Comment below or email him at thehoopswhisperer@harris-pub.com and you could appear in next month’s column.

Q: I’m afraid. It seems like no matter how hard I try to get loose and just play the game, I always get caught up in my own nervous emotions. Not one game this season have I really just let loose and played. I’ve tried approaching my games in a way where I’m joking around a lot and then I’ve tried where I put on a pair of headphones and listen to music, and neither of those methods work. I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m afraid of something. It’s super hard to get rid of, too. I’ve even had thoughts of quitting, it’s horrible. Any advice?
Idan Ravin: First and foremost, you are not crazy or weird for having these thoughts. At some point in our lives, all of us feel some kind of anxiety when faced with high-pressure situations. Once you develop a coping mechanism, you can better handle these stressors. I often see young players mimic the pre-game rituals of NBA players because they think this is how they are supposed to prepare for the game. Headphones and chest bumps might work for KG to focus and relax pre-game, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you, too. Stop mimicking and start figuring out what works for you. Discipline your thoughts like you do your basketball training. You pay attention to your diet and carve out time each day to work on your game. Now let’s apply this same discipline to your thoughts. Set aside time each day to simply close your eyes, imagine “good” thoughts and visualize where you want to be. Rather than focusing on a turnover or missed shot, visualize things like making a clutch shot, beating a defender off the dribble or earning a scholarship to college. Eliminate the negative thoughts and replace them with “good” thoughts.

The next step is to apply the “Idan So What Theory.” Ask yourself “So What?” when the negative thoughts begin to bleed into your conscious. So What if the coach yells at you? So What if you make a mistake and feel embarrassed? So What if the kids at school make fun of you? Every person on this planet who has achieved their goals will happily show you the bruises they accumulated along the way from tripping and falling again and again while chasing their dreams. Remember, you will trip and fall when chasing your dreams. But So What? This is why we have band-aids. Onward!

Q: Hey, Idan. At the beginning of games, I come to play all amped up and ready, then rush my shots, passes, etc. It takes me until the second half to play calmly and make smart decisions. I have trouble adjusting to the flow of the game early. Can you give me some tips on how to prepare for a game so that my first half can be as smooth as my second?
IR: This is common with players and it is something that can be addressed with some additional practice. I encourage you to treat shootaround, warm-ups and halftime as a chance to get physically loose, yet mentally focused. The more intensity and mental sharpness you apply to these “pre-game” situations, the quicker and more effective your transition will become to the actual game. In other words, run hard, sweat, listen, focus and treat each situation as if it is game-time. Apply these tips and it will be smooth sailing.

For more on Idan, go to idanravin.com.

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  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    Idan = Ilgauskas Jr.

  • Aaron

    Hey, Idan

  • http://Boom Aaron Laucke

    I love the game of basketball. I’ve been playing sense I was a child and I’m a good solid player. Only problem is that when it comes down to it I don’t seem to have the fire and competativeness that makes a basketball player great. I’ve just never had the correct mind set going in to games. I can hit shots but attacking the rim scares me senseless. When I drive to the lane and there’s a big guy waiting for me my legs turn to jelly and I barely get off the ground. I just don’t have that edge that Michael had.Help?

  • Grant Anderson

    My whole life I’ve been tall and skinny. I have really good fundamentals. I’m currently on an AAU team that keeps on playing at a big position when Im more of a 2 or 3. I’m just not that good in the post how can I make it work or find a way to incorporate my outside game?

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