“Practice man. We talkin’ bout practice. Not a game. Practice.” -A.I.
Everyone at some point in their career has loathed going to practice. It’s just part of being a player. I’m not gonna talk about the days you feel great and are excited about practice and happy to be in the gym (Hopefully this is most days). You got those days covered.
So I wanna talk about those days when you don’t feel like practicing. How can you liven up and get in a better state of mind so you can have fun, accomplish what you need to, and help your teammates do the same. Late preseason practice is often one of those times you find yourself not really being in the mood to practice. You’ve been practicing for awhile, and it’s getting tedious. Games are right around the corner, and you and your teammates are ready to play against someone that doesn’t wear the same colors as you.
To have a good practice when you aren’t feeling like your normal energetic self, you need to be intentional about getting yourself in a different state of mind. And you need to get your blood flowing.
3 Tips on How to Bring the Life into Practice on Days You Feel Dead
- Get Active: Whatever you do, don’t ever just walk onto the practice floor right as it’s about to start and expect to have a good practice. When you are tired or just feeling lethargic, you have to get your heart rate up or you’ll get stuck in lethargy. Get in an active stretch. Get some shots up. I can guarantee you will be twice as good of a practice player if you work up a mild sweat before every practice.
- Get Loud: Talk to your teammates. In the locker room as well as on the floor. This starts to prepare your mind. When you get vocal, you begin to feel more alive and less fatigued. When practice starts try to call out 50 names of your teammates in the first 5 minutes. “I see you workin’ Dave.” “Good shot, Jill.” Or just when you pass someone the ball… “Joey.” Not only will this be actively building good communication habits, but you will be intentionally changing your mental state as well as engaging your teammates by being vocal.
- Get Nasty: Nothing gets the heart racing like competition. Lethargic practice players often go an entire practice without getting after it and truly competing. To me, that’s lame. But then, again I’m a fierce competitor so I don’t understand people like that. Competition drives me and I don’t wanna go a day without it. If you are a basketball player and you’re not a fierce competitor, you’re probably not very good. When you’re a fierce competitor, any day you get to compete is a good day. Go compete. Dive after loose balls in a drill. Take charges in practice. Hit people on box outs. Get after it and let the adrenaline flow like the rapid waters of the Colorado River. If you really compete, you won’t feel lethargic for long. And trust me… Practice will be much more enjoyable and productive.
You’re always creating some kind of habit. And your practice habits say a lot about you to your coach. Every minute of practice is vital to the success and chemistry of your team. Value it like your coach does. Don’t waste a second.