The one skill that often separates the average basketball player from the great basketball player is the ability to focus and concentrate. If a player can’t adequately concentrate then he won’t shoot the ball as well as possible and his individual workouts won’t be nearly as productive as they could or should be.
He won’t be able to learn new offensive and defensive sets and the time spent working on and explaining a detailed game plan may be wasted if it doesn’t sink in. And a player who can’t concentrate and focus can be an enormous liability in crucial time out situations.
How can a player improve his ability to concentrate? One way is by using this very effective drill.
Have your players go through a simple stretch such as bending over and touching their toes or sitting in a butterfly position. While stretching, have them close their eyes and slowly count from one to fifty. The only catch is that while counting they can’t let another single thought enter their minds. As soon as another thought creeps in, whether it’s about a class assignment, an upcoming opponent, or a problem at home, the drill is over.
Just as the stretching will gradually make your players more flexible, counting to fifty will help them establish and maintain a greater level of concentration. That ability to shut out the unnecessary will become a tremendous asset both on and off the court.