You’ve heard those words. You’ve thought that way. You’ve established a strong lead. It’s late in the game, and the opponent is making a charge. They’re coming back. The tension sets in. Everyone starts worrying about LOSING THE LEAD! It’s almost like "Here we go again!"
Why is it so difficult to hold a lead? The answer is almost too simple. It’s because we get worried about LOSING! The thinking begins to change from positive to negative. It becomes a new mindset, a subconscious belief that "we’re going to lose the game."
I don’t even think the players and coaches are aware that they are beginning to think that way. Yet, they are. The subconscious is so powerful that it controls your thinking and your actions. When you begin to subconsciously drift into that kind of thinking, you automatically begin to play that way, playing not to lose!
I can hear you saying, "Ok, hoopsguru.com. We believe you, but what can we do about it?"
The secret is to develop strong affirmations for extending the lead! The affirmations are the vehicle to drive your positive thoughts that control your actions. This new way of thinking puts you in a positive and winning subconscious mode. You control yourself through your subconscious.
Here are a few affirmations that you and your team could use to become winners when taking the lead:
- "We are aggressive as we extend out lead!"
- "We dominate once we take the lead!"
- "We are sharper and quicker when we are in the lead!"
- "We put pressure on our opponent when we take the lead!"
Those are just a few. The coach says to the team, "Put the pressure on ‘em. We’re going turn it up a notch!" The new focus is no longer holding or protecting the lead, which is a way of saying don’t lose it, but on extending and dominating…winning!
I remember a game many years ago in Normal, Illinois. The University of Tulsa under Nolan Richardson was playing Illinois State. I was listening to the game as I drove home from a speaking engagement in Stillwater, Oklahoma. As I approached the driveway to my house, Tulsa was trailing by two points. I rushed into the house. Fortunately for me, my kids had the game on the TV.
Illinois State had the ball. They had less then 45 seconds to run out the clock. It looked like the game was over. Notice ISU is focusing on not losing, attempting to control the ball. Out of nowhere a young freshman, Byron Boudreaux raced over and stole the ball. He’s dribbling for an easy lay up. Of course, you know what happened. ISU fouls him.
Now, Byron is standing on the free throw line. The ISU coach calls time out. They always do. The hope is to get the shooter to worry about making the free throw.
Nolan begins to talk to the team during the time out. He says, "Right after Byron makes those two free throws, I want a tight press on these guys. We’re going to take ‘em to overtime and win!" Notice Nolan’s focus – winning! Subconsciously what’s Byron thinking? He’s focused on getting on defense after he makes the free throws. There’s no negative thinking.
The result, Tulsa wins in overtime.
Utilize your affirmations to extend the lead and WIN!