Why is Mental Coaching so Needed in Basketball

Sports Psychology Special – John F Murray, PhD – December 21, 2013 – Hello from Dr. John F. Murray, sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida. I’ve had the pleasure and fortune of working with some truly remarkable athletes and teams over my career of almost 15 years in private practice. Amongst the many athletes in lots of sports are quite a few basketball players, including long-time NBA All Star Tracy McGrady (T-Mac) who was kind enough to give me a supportive quote about our work together. I have the signed and framed jersey he gave me on my office wall today.

I also once posted an article about the famous Bill Russell, whom my dad met in December of 1956 after he had returned from the Olympic games in Australia. My dad, J. Richard Murray, met him in Chicago as he was a writer for Sports Illustrated and the magazine wanted my dad to talk with him throughout the Loyola Invitational Tournament. Russell was a class act, and my dad was able to get the scoop on his official decision to sign with the Boston Celtics. This would lead to an article my dad wrote in Sports Illustrated and I still have the copy in my office.

One of the most memorable things Russell said that weekend was his response to a question my dad asked him about what makes him such a great player. His response was: “NO! … once you think you are on top of the world, a snake comes out of the tall grass and cuts you down!” I still use that quote today to help athletes realize that overconfidence is a huge mistake.

I was also fortunate to work as the sports psychologist for two years in row for a division I basketball team down here in South Florida. I sat on the bench at home games, gave pre-game chalk talk speeches, and even helped carry towels into the locker room at halftime.

The bottom line is that if you are an athlete with any desire to improve, and especially a competitive basketball player, you would be well advised to seek out the services of a qualified sports psychologist to help you improve your game. When focus, energy control, confidence, and resilience improves, great things can happen.

Hope you enjoyed this tiny glimpse into the world of sports psychology.