1. Recharge your battery in between timeouts, ref calls, foul shots, when the ball goes out of bounce. Detach yourself emotionally and mentally from other games during the day. Don’t watch too much basketball. Get out of the tournament area when there is some time to do so. Leave the building and get some fresh air if you can.
2. Do not make the tournament into an event. You play several games like situations each practice. This is no different.
3. Don’t spend too much time looking at brackets. (1) All you need to know is who you’re playing and your court number. You do not need to read every name, since you will probably only play against 4 or 5 teams there anyway. (2) Over-analysis of brackets leads you to “looking ahead” and playing “what if” scenarios in your head. (3) Brackets can make the tournament into more of an “event” which could add pressure.
4. Stay away from negative people/small time thinkers. Upsets happen to even the best teams. They all can be beat. No one is superhuman. The only person in the building who needs to believe in you is YOU and your team to grow with you.
5. Stay away from people who make you overthink or add pressure (certain team coaches, private coaches, parents, friends, teammates).
6. Stay positive and BELIEVE in yourself even when it’s tough to do so. Part of being mentally tough means staying stubbornly positive and optimistic despite adversity.
7. In between each match, get a drill in to get back to that good feeling. Drilling for feel, not analysis, helps you regroup and improve confidence.
8. Play a practice game before you compete your first actual game (get the mistakes out of you).
9. Don’t over or under eat/drink. Be full but stop when you’re full. You should be fully hydrated when you compete.
10. Stay in the present moment. Don’t look ahead or behind. If you lost or played poorly, do NOT let the same team beat you twice. On the other side of the coin, do not celebrate or become too content when you place, qualify, pull off a big upset, or fulfill/exceed other people’s expectations of you. Keep wrestling hard and hungry.