How To Boost Your Confidence In Basketball | 10 Tips

basketball mindset Nov 14, 2023
gain confidence in basketball

Confidence is key in basketball. Build more confidence with these tips

Confidence is crucial to have in the game of basketball. It can be the difference between hitting a game winning shot or hesitating in a clutch moment.

It can be the difference between being good and being great. When it comes to basketball, self-confidence is the key to taking your game to the next level.

You may have wondered, "Why am I not confident in basketball?" Or, you may have had a coach or teammate say something to you like, "Hey, be more confident." 

Be more confident. But how? Well, the good news is confidence is something that can be improved.  

In this post, learn what self-confidence means in the context of basketball, why it's so crucial to have, and then most importantly, how you can become a more confident basketball player.

Also, learn from basketball legends Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Steph Curry who have some valuable insights on how to gain basketball confidence.

Guided Meditation: Increase Your Shooting Confidence >> 


What is Self-Confidence In Basketball?

Self-confidence is a state of mind that allows basketball players to perform at the highest level they are capable of

When you have confidence on the basketball court, you trust your instincts, are able to make quick decisions, and perform at your very best.

Having confidence in basketball means having belief in your abilities and skills. It's an inner belief that you deserve to play at a high level because of all the training you've done.

You are confident in your skills because you know that you put in the work. This confidence acts like a multiplier boost for your skills in a way. 

Self-confidence also allows basketball players to overcome challenges during a game or during their career.

With confidence, missing a shot doesn't bother you. Losing a game doesn't bother you. Turning the ball over doesn't bother you. You have the faith that you'll succeed next time, or you'll learn from those challenges.

You might like: 24 Motivational Basketball Quotes To Build Confidence >>


Is Confidence Important In Basketball?

Confidence is arguably the most important mental skill in basketball because it affects every aspect of the game.

From shooting, to ballhandling, to defense and executing plays, confidence is necessary to have in order to do all of these things at the highest level you are capable of.

Lack of confidence on the court leads to hesitation, second-guessing yourself, and ultimately underperforming.

On the other hand, when you play basketball with confidence you are more likely to take risks, make bold moves, and excel under pressure.

In other words, you are more likely to play without fear which of course will help you to play at a higher level.

Another reason confidence is important in basketball is because, for example, you could be a very good shooter but if you have a lot of self-doubt, then you're not going to shoot at your highest potential.

Pressure moments might cause you to miss, being in a shooting slump might make you miss even more. 

On the flip-side, if you have a lot of self-confidence, then pressure moments won't affect you or a bad shooting performance won't affect you.

You'll have the faith and trust in yourself that you can succeed no matter the situation, no matter how many previous shots you missed.

Confidence is key to being the best player you can be. You need to be confident in order to reach your highest potential as a player.

Watch: How I Became A More Confident And Consistent Shooter >>

Read: 13 Tips To Improve Your Shooting In Basketball >>


How To Gain Confidence In Basketball - 10 Tips

Here are ten ways to build confidence in basketball:


1. Put In The Work

Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more confident you will become. 

Confidence comes from knowing how hard you've worked. When you know deep down that you've been working really hard, you're going to draw confidence from that.

On the other hand, when you know deep down that you didn't work as hard as you could, you're not going to give yourself reason to feel much confidence.

Confidence and work ethic go hand-in-hand. Try to get a little bit better each day and you will start to feel more confidence as a result of your improvements.

Get Lots Of Reps

  • Practice over and over and over at game speed
  • Practice game situations so that when you get into a similar situation in a game, you can feel comfortable and confident knowing that you've practiced this before

Set Achievable Goals

  • Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for yourself. Break them down into smaller milestones and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. This will boost your confidence and motivate you to keep pushing yourself.
  • Achieving goals, no matter how small is confidence boosting. 

Track Your Progress

  • Keep a basketball journal or keep a practice log of everything you're working on including how many reps you do, how many shots you make, etc. This way, you can track your improvements and draw confidence from them
  • Also, it's important to remember that just because you aren't seeing progress doesn't mean it's not there or that it won't happen soon.


2. Increase Positive Self-Talk

A critical aspect of being a confident basketball player is thinking confidently.

If you want to be confident on the court, you need to limit negative thinking, doubt, and limiting beliefs and replace them with positive thinking, confident thoughts, and more empowering, growth-mindset like beliefs. 

Anytime you catch yourself having doubts or thinking negatively, just notice that you're doing it and replace those thoughts with something more positive or confident. 



For example: "I don't know if I can make this shot." 

"Wait, yes. Yes I can make this shot. I got this."

Simple as that. Do this enough and eventually those negative thoughts will go away and you'll be thinking more confidently all the time. Remember, the mind is a powerful tool, and positive self-talk can significantly impact your performance.

For more on this process: 4 Steps to Rewire Your Mindset for Basketball Success >>


3. Emphasize Effort Over Outcome

Focus on what you can control. You can always control your effort. You can always control playing hard. Draw your confidence from that.

You can't always control the outcome: winning or losing a game, being awarded MVP or some other award, etc.

If you tend to draw your confidence from outcome, then you're letting your confidence be dictated by something external. And then what happens when that external thing doesn't go your way? Well, then you lose confidence. 

But it doesn't have to. Draw your confidence from how hard you work, how hard you play, and the effort you give everyday. No one can take that away from you.

Video: Inside the Mindset of Damian Lillard  >>


4. Embrace Failure And Mistakes

One of the hardest parts of basketball is staying confident and positive despite losing a game or making a bad play or having a poor performance.

In your journey to get more confidence in basketball, it is essential to let go of the fear of failure or making mistakes. 

Understand that to fail or make a mistake is a natural part of the learning process and an opportunity for growth. Failure is often the best teacher.

Instead of dwelling on your errors (losing a game, missing a shot, making a bad play or turning the ball over), use them as a lesson and an opportunity to improve. 

Embrace a growth mindset and view each mistake or failure as a stepping stone towards success.

Remember, even the greatest basketball players have lost games, missed shots, and made mistakes throughout their careers, but it's their ability to bounce back and learn from them that sets them apart.

You might like: Be More Clutch By Letting Go Of Fear >>


5. Don't Worry About Other People's Opinions

Confidence in basketball, or any aspect of life, should not be dependent on the opinions of others.

When you need other people to think highly of you for you to think highly of yourself, you're giving other people the power to take your confidence away from you.

What happens when someone starts to talk trash or hate on you? Well then, you're going to feel less confident. That trash talk is going to affect you.



Instead, try drawing your confidence from within yourself, regardless of what other people think of you.

This is called "inner confidence." 

When you draw your confidence from within, you don't need other people to think highly of you for you to think highly of yourself.

Have confidence because of all the hard work you've put in up until this point. Draw confidence from your improvements and your effort everyday. 

Understand that you aren't perfect, and that's ok. It's ok to make a mistake, or miss a shot, or have a bad game. This mindset is what will give you confidence. 

Basketball players who are truly confident do not care about what other people think. Real confidence means believing and trusting in yourself at all times, no matter what other people say.

How To Deal With Criticism Or Hate: Read | Watch >>


6. Compete Against Yourself

One of the most effective ways to boost your confidence in basketball is to compete against yourself. Set personal benchmarks and strive to surpass them. Challenge yourself to improve your skills, increase your shooting percentage, or get better in some other way.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses and aim to turn your weaknesses into strengths. View it as a competition with yourself.

By focusing on self-improvement rather than comparing yourself to others, you will build a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Celebrate your progress and use it as motivation to continue pushing yourself to new levels.

Read also: 50 Best Coach Pat Summitt Quotes >>


7. Visualize Success

Visualization is a powerful tool for building confidence. Visualization is when you close your eyes and you imagine yourself doing something in your mind's eye.

In basketball terms, it means closing your eyes and picturing yourself playing basketball: imagining yourself on the court practicing or playing in a game.

Studies have shown that getting mental reps through visualization is an effective way to prepare for and get better at something. So picturing yourself playing in a game or practicing certain moves or skills is a great way to increase confidence. 

What to do:
Each day, take 5 minutes to close your eyes and imagine yourself practicing or playing in a game.

For example, if you'd like to improve your shooting confidence, imagine yourself doing shooting drills and making every shot. Also, imagine yourself being confident, being fearless, and not being afraid of taking pressure shots.

By visualizing your success, you will increase your confidence and at the same time, improve your skills and chances of success in your real games.

How To Mentally Prepare For A Basketball Game (5-Step Routine): Read | Watch >>


8. Repeat Positive Affirmations Or Mantras

Positive affirmations or mantras can be powerful tools in building confidence.

Affirmations are powerful statements that you read or say to yourself that program your subconscious mind.

They are used to help you rewire your mindset to be more positive, confident, fearless, grateful, and more.



Here are a few examples of affirmations. All you have to do is read these to yourself out loud or in your head. 


  • I am a great basketball player.
  • No one can guard me.
  • I am fully confident in my basketball abilities
  • I believe every shot I take is going in
  • I play with zero hesitation
  • I do not fear failure

Affirmations are one of the easiest ways to improve your basketball confidence and it only takes a few minutes to do. By consistently reinforcing positive beliefs about yourself, you will start to internalize them and increase your confidence on and off the court. 

Learn more about affirmations:


9. Let Go Of Perfection

In the pursuit of gaining confidence in basketball, it's crucial to let go of the idea of perfection. Perfectionism can create unnecessary pressure and hurt your ability to perform at your absolute best. 

Sometimes basketball players feel like they have to make every shot or win every single game.

Great players want to make every shot and win every game of course, but they also understand that that's not exactly realistic either. And so they don't lose confidence when these things happen. 

Understand that mistakes and imperfections are a natural part of the game (and life). Instead of striving for perfection, focus on your effort, continuous improvement, and embracing the learning process.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes, miss shots, or have bad games. Learn from these things and grow as a player.

By letting go of the need to be perfect, you free yourself to take risks, try new techniques/moves, and ultimately develop your skills with confidence.

Guided Meditation: Pregame Guided Meditation For Basketball Players >>


10. Have Fun

Finally, when it comes to boosting your confidence, don't forget to have fun and be you. Remember that basketball is a game. Enjoy it. 

When you're having fun, your confidence naturally increases. Embrace the joy of playing, the good times with your teammates, the thrill of competition, and also the challenges that come with playing basketball.

When you approach the game with a positive mindset and a sense of enjoyment, you free yourself to play with less pressure.

Remember the reasons why you fell in love with basketball in the first place and let that passion fuel your confidence. Smile, play with enthusiasm, and let the fun factor be a driving force in your journey to becoming a more confident basketball player.

Read: How to Lock in Before a Game >>


Kobe Bryant On Confidence

Kobe Bryant, the late basketball legend, was known for his unwavering confidence and mental toughness on the court - a mindset he dubbed "The Mamba Mentality." 

Kobe believed that confidence comes from being prepared and putting in the work. Bryant once said, "I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it."

You might like: The 24 Best Kobe Bryant Mamba Mentality Quotes  >>

Read also: What Is The Mamba Mentality? >>


Tips From Michael Jordan on Confidence

Michael Jordan, 5x NBA MVP and one of the greatest basketball players of all time emphasized the importance of failure in building confidence.

He believed that failure is a necessary part of the learning process and that it should be embraced rather than feared.



“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Jordan's advice is to learn from mistakes, stay persistent, and never let failures define your confidence. 

You might like: Top 50 Michael Jordan Quotes About Basketball and Life >>


Shooting Confidence Tips From Steph Curry

NBA star Steph Curry is arguably the greatest shooter in NBA history. To be the best shooter, you have to have a high level of confidence. 

Steph said, "If I shoot it, in the moment I think it's a good shot, and I have confidence and I expect to make it. That's the approach I have every time I shoot."

And, "I have supreme confidence in shooting the ball. If I'm shooting it, I think I'm going to make it. The confidence is always there."



Curry has said that his confidence comes from all the hard work and repetition he's put in throughout his career:

"It's a confidence that's built on the foundation of work and the reps I put in." 

And, "[My confidence] is built off my work ethic and the way I approach the game."

You might like: Steph Curry Quotes on Shooting Confidence >>

Watch: Steph Curry Talks About His Shooting Confidence >>

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