top of page

5 Things Young Basketball Players Need to Improve Their Skills

Every young basketball player aspires to be the greatest in the game, especially if they are aiming to get recruited by reputed coaches.

But it’s easier said than done.

Apart from the necessary physical skills like the ability to play well, train yourself, and the ability to last longer, there are some definitive mental qualities a young basketball player needs to improve their skills and secure a promising future in basketball.

This post is about such qualities and how they can complement a player’s skills in a highly positive way.

Eliminating the Fear of Failure

The fear of failure is more damaging than failure itself.

Young players must learn the importance of trying and trying again, and never being afraid of failure. They must understand that what determines the quality of their game is the effort they put in every day. That won’t be possible if they will never take the first step because they’re afraid to fail. They should practice caring less about what people think and always focus on their goals.

Additionally, they must learn to make mistakes and be okay with them. The ability to make mistakes and not be embarrassed allows the players to take on newer challenges and more challenging situations, which is integral for their growth. The most beneficial training is the training that happens at one’s boundaries. To constantly push their boundaries, players must be mentally ready to be okay with making mistakes and people laughing at them.

For a young basketball player, there is nothing more harmful than a comfort zone. Eliminating the fear of failure and learning to make mistakes is a great way to step out of it.

Focusing on What Matters

What differentiates between good and bad players is their priorities.

Young players should learn the importance of focusing on what matters most and prioritizing accordingly. There will always be a chance that young players passionate about basketball will feel distracted because of their friends and colleagues. Especially when they see them sleeping in on weekends, spending all their time on video games or partying. While none of that is inherently bad, an aspiring basketball player should know that there are bigger priorities for them in life. The time spent sleeping, partying or playing video games could be better spent training in the gym or on the court.

This ability to be precise about their priorities early on, and cutting out all the unnecessary things, will help them greatly on their path to becoming great basketball players.

Accountability and Self-assessment

A good player knows his strengths well, but knows his weaknesses even better.

Young basketball players need to cultivate a habit of accountability. They can achieve this by striving to be better than what they were yesterday. Comparing yourself with others is pointless, but competing with yourself is a great way to consistently get better and eventually become the best version of yourself.

Young players must consistently set achievable goals that challenge their boundaries and hold themselves accountable to those goals. Did they complete them? If not, why couldn’t they? What could they do better next time to avoid that fate?

All these questions will allow them to learn their weaknesses, which they can work on to get better consistently.

A reliable method to become more accountable for young basketball players is to find a coach or a mentor who can help them plan and hold them responsible. Having a second, more experienced eye can immensely increase the productivity of the players.

Unshakable Self Confidence

Everything great begins with an unshakable belief in yourself.

Young basketball players need to understand that the coaches can only do so much for them. Yes, they can encourage them to be more confident, but self-confidence is a feeling that comes from within.

The right way to cultivate self-confidence in young players is to realize what matters most and to focus on that entirely. It doesn’t matter where they stand or what their weaknesses are. What should matter is the effort they will put in to get where they want, and a stern belief that they WILL get there. They should believe in the effort and time they put in and focus on training themselves to eliminate weaknesses.

This builds in them a remarkable capacity to handle naysayers, their insecurities, and outside events that constantly challenge them.

Patience and Trust in the Process

Rome was not built in a day.

This adage stands true for young basketball players as well. Sometimes, it is easy to get frustrated with the process when there is no progress in sight. But the young basketball players need to understand that training is a gradual process, and even though it may seem like they are failing, they are actually rewiring themselves to perform better the next time.

The seemingly small efforts players put in every day get multiplied as time passes, as long as they consistently challenge themselves over a long period. Players who are not patient with the process tend to give up quickly and effectively ending the chances of what they could have been.

Final Word

Young players can get overwhelmed when there’s so much to do, so much to think, and so much to make right. But focusing on just these attitudinal changes can make a significant difference.

Even though physical training and skill should be a given to become a great basketball player, these mental qualities and personality traits act as the pillars on which a mentally strong player stands.

Conversely, no matter his basketball skills, if he lacks these qualities, he is likely to quit as soon as the going gets tough.


bottom of page