There is no doubt that there is a great deal of physical preparation needed for NBA players to thrive.  NBA players need to have a great deal of physical strength and stamina so that they can withstand the physicality that they will endure throughout the regular season.   However, it is also critical that NBA players ensure that they are mentally prepared as well.  NBA athletes prepare themselves mentally for games in a variety of ways.  We will go over some of those methods in this piece. 

One method used by NBA players is the use of visualization techniques.  Visualization techniques are used by players so that they can imagine themselves succeeding in a particular game.  Specifically, a key visualization technique used by players is the technique of imagining themselves on the court achieving success in a key in-game scenario. 

Former head coach Phil Jackson is famous for encouraging his players with visualization. 

During the 2001 NBA Finals, he convinced former player Tyronn Lue to wear an arm sleeve during practice to help him visualize how he would guard Sixers superstar Allen Iverson.  Iverson was famous for dawning arm sleeves during games. 

Additionally, some players listen to music to get mentally prepared to play.  Golden State Warriors Draymond Green would get himself hyped for games by playing tracks such as "10 Bands" by Drake. 

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard would mentally prepare himself for games by listening to songs such as "Daughters" by Nas and "I Ain't No Joke" by Eric B & Rakim. 

When he was with the Trail Blazers, CJ McCollum would prep for games by listening to songs such as "One Mic" by Nas and "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar 

Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan would listen to "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A.  Given that he is a native of Compton, CA. 

Another way that players mentally prepare themselves is by using positive self-talk to boost their confidence.  The late Kobe Bryant used many words and quotes of affirmation to motivate himself so that he can be the best he can be. 

Michael Jordan was famous for this as well.  One of Michael Jordan's quotes was "Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation". 

Finally, some NBA players use meditation to clear their minds and stay in the present moment.  This was a technique that Phil Jackson would use effectively with his teams throughout his coaching career.  It is no doubt that this technique helped spark the success of the great Bulls teams of the 1990s as well as the great Lakers teams of the 2000s.

April 17, 2023 — Jeremiah Oglesby