How to talk to your player after a game: 3 things you should talk about

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 The look forward:

  • The 3 things to focus on.
  • Attitude during the game
  • The effort your put in on the court
  • Your focus on the process of getting better

We've all been in this scenario before, your player's team just got done playing their last game of the day and you pile into your car on your way home. You look at your player's face and they are clearly upset with the way the game ended, You can tell it's going to be a long ride home and your player is going through it...

As a parent we all want our kids to be happy, healthy and give them the opportunities we had (or didn't have) as a kid. But as we know life isn't always easy and these moments are true character building opportunities. So take advantage of the situation.

So what do we say?

The three things to focus on?
At Team Esface we teach life through basketball and our amazing partners at Lucid Mental Training breaks down these 3 essential talking points, which are also the building blocks of our player development program.

  • Did you have a good attitude during the game
  • Did you put as much effort as possible on the court?
  • Did you focus on the process of getting better and not let other things get in the way?

If you can say that you accomplished all of these, you had a successful game.

Your attitude during the game:
We play basketball because we LOVE to play basketball. Basketball isn't a chore, it's a game and a privilege. We want to ensure that players understand that they have the privilege to play basketball. So we tell our players to bring a great attitude to the court.

Some questions you can ask your player after the game:

  • Did you have a good attitude during the game?
  • Did you not let errors get in the way of enjoying the game?
  • Did you encourage your teammates on the court?

Your effort you put in on the court:
When we play basketball we give 150% all the time. Why say this because every moment on the court is an investment in yourself. Don't allow your lack of effort cheat you out of getting the most out of every opportunity on the court.

Some questions you can ask your player after the game:

  • Did you play your heart out?
  • Did you dive after every loose ball near you?
  • Did you sprint back on defense every time?

Did you focus on the process of the getting better?: We teach our players to LOVE THE PROCESS of getting better. When you love the process of getting better you will become a great player. We teach our kids to not focus on the outcome of the game (winning and losing), rather we teach them to be hyper-focused during each play and control the things that they can control (attitude, effort, focus). We understand that focus may be a struggle for kids (especially this day and age), but we teach everyone to re-focus if they lost focus during their game (which can be results of a bad call, failure, not getting the ball etc).

Some questions you can ask your player after the game:

  • Were you focused on what you needed to work on?
  • Did you ever lose focus? If so what was the scenario and how did you get it back?
  • What were the things you focused on getting done during the game (boxing out, proper shooting form, sliding on defense)?

Some other lessons that we teach our players and you can reinforce.

  • Fail Forward: We need to fail to succeed, nobody became great without failing. Make sure you fail you fail forward and learn from your mistakes and get back on the court.
  • Know Yourself: Separate the basketball player with the human being. What happens on the court stays on the court (or the film room). This allows players to refocus on life once they are off the court. If we separate the two we can have harmony with both.

It may sound simplistic at first, but these are the building blocks that we teach at Team Esface. The traits that we build are the things that are transferrable in life (passion, integrity, effort and focus). If you stick with this line of questioning and stay away from your prototypical questions (which team won?, how many points did you score? etc) you will allow your kids to GROW THROUGH IT not go through it.

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Carlos Villicana

Team Esface Mental Coach