Handling Criticism in Basketball - How to Deal With Negative Criticism or Hate

basketball mindset Mar 27, 2023
dealing with haters in basketball

Haters gonna hate. Don't let it affect your confidence though

"You stink at _____." "You'll never be _____." "You'll never go far." "You played awful."

We've all been criticized or hated on at one point or another in our basketball careers. 

Look up any professional basketball player's latest tweet or social post and I'm sure you won't have to look far to see negative comments like these.

Unfortunately, there will always be people who hate on you for one thing or another.

How do you handle such criticism in basketball? How do you not let the hate affect your confidence or self-esteem?

Read on to learn 4 ways to mentally deal with criticism and stay confident in yourself no matter what.



If you'd rather watch a video on this topic, check out my Youtube video here >>


Can You Learn From The Criticism?

Criticism vs Feedback

The first step to handling criticism in basketball is to ask yourself if you can learn from whatever was said about you.

Is it useless criticism or is it actually helpful feedback?

Feedback, or constructive criticism, is something someone says to you that can help you become a better player if you choose to accept that feedback and use it in a positive way. 

"You need to shoot with more arc." "You need to give more effort defensively." "You had bad shot selection last game."

These are all forms of feedback or constructive criticism. These things can all help you become a better player if you take the appropriate action to correct these things.

"Ok, let me work on shooting with more arc." "Let me play harder on the defensive end." "Let me be more aware of my shot selection." 

In the long run, you become a better player and you have that feedback to thank.

But then there's negative criticism or hate. Negative criticism or hate sounds something like, "You're a terrible basketball player! You stink at ____." "You'll never make it far." "Why did you make that terrible pass?" 

Is there something that you can learn from criticism like this? Sometimes there is, but only you can make that distinction.

It's up to you to discern whether or not something someone says about you can help you, or if it's just hate, just noise, just trash talk, just a personal attack on you or an attempt to hurt your confidence.

You Might Like: How to be Mentally Tough in Basketball >>


Remember That It Doesn't Define You

If what someone said about you was just hate, or noise, or trash talk and there's clearly nothing for you to gain from it, then how do you handle that?

How do you process that mentally? How do you not let it get you down or bring your confidence down?

When faced with negative criticism, it's really important to remember this: someone else's hate or negative criticism towards you does not define you.

Maybe someone's hating on you for making a mistake or missing a shot or playing poorly. Or maybe they're criticizing different parts of your game.

Whatever the case may be, remember that none of that defines you. It does not define the type of basketball player you are. That criticism is just noise really.

When you know that you're going to learn from that mistake you made, or that shot you missed, or that bad game you had, when you know that you're going to bounce back -- well then, that resilience is what will define you.

When you know that you're going to keep working hard on your game and continually evolve into a even better player, well then, that work ethic is what will define you.

Not some hate from someone. Not some trash-talk.

Only you can truly define yourself. Only your own beliefs about yourself define the type of basketball player you are. Not someone else's.

Besides, you can't control what someone else says or thinks about you anyway. So it's best to ignore what they're saying and not let it get you down.

Read: How to Mentally Train for Basketball >>


Draw Your Confidence From Within

With all that said, ignoring hateful words can be easier said than done. Sometimes, you just can't help but let it affect you.

So how do you ignore criticism? How do you maintain unshakeable confidence no matter what someone says about you?

By drawing your confidence from within. By not relying on other people to boost your confidence, but by boosting your confidence yourself. 

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.

You draw your confidence from all the hard you've put in up until this point. You draw your confidence from your improvements and your effort everyday. 

You understand that you aren't perfect, and that's ok. You know that it's ok to make a mistake, or miss a shot, or have a bad game. 

These beliefs are what give you confidence. 

When you rely on other people to give you confidence in yourself, you're also at the same time giving them the power to take that 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.

But when you draw your confidence from within, it doesn't matter what anyone says. Since you don't rely on them to boost your confidence, you also give them no power to take it away from you either.

When you have that inner confidence, it is easy to ignore hateful words. They will bounce right off you. Your inner confidence will act like a shield to any hate or negative criticism.

Guided Meditation: Pregame Meditation for Basketball Players >>


Change Your Perspective Towards It

Finally, a good way to deal with criticism or hate is to change your perspective towards these things.

Instead of seeing them as a personal attack on you, as an attack on your game, see it as a test. See someone hating on you as a challenge of your confidence.

Use it as an opportunity to solidify your confidence in yourself.

Moving forward, anytime someone hates on you again or criticizes you, see it as a test and make it a point to pass that test. Don't let their words bother you. Let them roll right off you.

Stay confident in yourself and stay resilient.

Read also: How to Lock In Before a Basketball Game >>


Overcoming Negative Criticism Quotes

1. "People will hate you, rate you, shake you, and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you." - LeBron James

 2. "People are always gonna say something. They're gonna try to have some type of narrative or whatnot. But as long as you know what's real, I think that's what can help you keep your sanity." - Chris Paul

3. "No matter what someone else says about me or what they expect for me to do for myself or for my team, nobody has higher expectations than me." - Trae Young

4. "I love negative energy. It motivates me. It really doesn't bother me because my dad was my first hater, so if I can take it from him, I can take it from anybody." - Ja Morant

5. "I've always had to prove myself to people growing up. I had to show them that I could do this and I could do that and paying no mind to what the critics said." Russell Westbrook

6. "I'll always be the person that has to deal with whatever the pros and cons of my decisions are, so I can't do things based on what other people think or whatever the criticism or chatter is. I gotta continue to do me." - Damian Lillard

7. "I'm not going to get upset because somebody said something bad about me." - Charles Barkley

8. "I had to learn at an early age to turn criticism into motivation." - Shaquille O'Neal

9. "I'm going to be more critical of myself than anyone could ever be." - Draymond Green

10. "No matter what the haters say, no matter when people doubt you, focus on what you want to do, and go out there and achieve it." - James Harden

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