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9 Genius Ways NBA Coaches Manage Pressure

by Lois R. Earles
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Basketball is one of the most popular sports globally, and it’s not hard to see why. The sport has a lot going for it: fast-paced action, high skill level, great entertainment value, and even changing scores and odds. But some things can make the game less enjoyable for fans, such as bad calls or missed opportunities.

To help you understand what makes basketball coaches tick, we spoke with four former basketball head coaches who have been through their fair share of pressure situations. We asked them how they handle pressure, and here are nine ways they do so.

1. They Don’t Let It Affect Them

The first way that these coaches manage pressure is by keeping calm under fire. When you’re dealing with stress, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose your cool. That doesn’t mean you should let emotions take over; instead, try to stay focused on the task at hand. 

If you don’t feel you’ve done enough, you need to keep working harder. Pressure from the opposing team and management can be overwhelming, but if you remain composed, you’ll be able to deal with it better than others.

2. They Focus On What’s Important

The second way these coaches deal with pressure is by focusing on what matters. This means that they will focus on what’s important when they’re feeling pressured. For example, if you’re playing against a formidable opponent, you might want to consider how well you prepared for this matchup. 

You could also spend time thinking about how you can improve your performance. These types of thoughts may seem trivial, but they actually help you stay relaxed during stressful times.

3. They Take Care Of Their Teammates

The third way these coaches deal effectively with pressure is by taking care of their teammates. Many say that being a good teammate is more important than winning games. 

One coach said, “I always felt I had to win, but my job was to help the guys around me succeed too.” 

Another coach added, “If you look back at all the great teams, they were always very close-knit. There wasn’t any ego involved.”

4. They Stay Calm During Games

The fourth way these coaches deal successfully with pressure is by staying calm during games. Many people panic during tense moments, but these coaches know that remaining calm can help them perform better. 

One coach explained, “You can either sit up in the stands and scream, or you can go out and play.” He continued, “It comes down to whether you want to be part of something bigger than yourself or just react to everything that happens.”

5. They Keep A Positive Attitude

The fifth way these coaches deal well with pressure is by keeping a positive attitude. Being negative won’t help you deal with pressure because it will only cause you to worry. Instead, try to stay confident and optimistic. 

One coach shared, “When you’re having fun, you’re not stressed. When you’re having fun, there’s no pressure. 

6. They Discuss With Management

Pressure isn’t going away anytime soon. So, if you’re dealing with it, make sure that you talk to your manager about it. Your manager can give you advice on how to cope with stress. 

For example, one coach said, “If things are getting too intense, I’d talk to my manager. We would have a conversation and come up with a plan together.”

7. They Have Fun With Their Team

Additionally, the seventh way these coaches deal positively with pressure is by having fun with their teammates. Some even said that they enjoy hanging out with their players after practice. 

One coach said, “We had some laughs and talked about our families. It was nice to relax and unwind.” 

The tip not only helps cool pressure off but also makes you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.

8. They Let Go Of The Obsession With Results

Most of us indeed obsess over results. But, as these coaches show, sometimes we need to let go of this obsession. 

One coach said, “… we’ve got to stop worrying so much about the scoreboard. We’ve got to start looking at ourselves as individuals instead of as a team.”

9. They Take Breaks

Another thing that these coaches do is take breaks. They understand that relaxation is essential to performing at your best. 

One coach said, “a break from basketball is what allows you to get ready for the next game.”

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