One Word: Attitude

A young player’s attitude is everything, including contagious to others. The right attitude is a sure way for players to achieve success in life both on and off the court. How can we help our players develop the right attitude, and what is considered good and bad attitude?

Attitude is defined as “a settled way of thinking or feeling about something” (Oxford Dictionary), therefore, as coaches, we can continue to work towards altering our players way of thinking.

I’m sure many coaches have witnessed the success of athletes that demonstrate a strong mental attitude, compared to those who may have excellent basketball skills, but when they are faced with challenges, they crumble. Developing the right mental attitude goes hand in hand with developing fundamental basketball skills. All young athletes may not grasp a left-hand lay-up right away, but they can all develop the right attitude with our help!

But how? It all stems from you – the coach and/or parent. You need to lead by example, and reinforce the correct mental attitude. Talk to your athletes about it and encourage your players to “practice” the right mental attitude. This brings me back to the meaning of attitude; it is essentially a habit of thinking. If we can continue to practice positive thinking over and over, it will formulate a habit. Tell your young athletes that they can be their own super hero simply by continuously thinking the thoughts that will lead to a “super attitude”!

Good/Positive Attitude Examples

  • Always giving 110% during practice and games, even if the practice drills aren’t enjoyable
  • Willing to learn new skills and practice them, even if they look silly
  • Encouraging teammates to not give up, both in game situations and when they are perfecting their skills
  • A positive attitude will ensure the player maintains concentration despite distractions
  • Figuring out how to overcome challenges, rather than backing down and walking away
  • Complementing a teammate when they do something good

Bad/Negative Attitude Examples

  • Getting frustrated easily when not performing well or grasping a skill as fast as others
  • Poor listening skills and fooling around during practice
  • Playing selfishly in game situations
  • Blaming others for his or her mistakes
  • Not engaging in the games or drills lead by the coach

As you work toward teaching your young athletes the fundamentals of basketball, be sure to develop the right mindset as well. This is one of the greatest skills an athlete can possess. Do your athletes already portray more positive attitude examples than negative? Continue to reinforce the right attitude and create habits for them. Always remember, that attitude is everything!


_MG_2253Elizabeth Corey is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Sport Management at the University of Ottawa. She is the Student Domestic Development Coordinator at Canada Basketball, and is the Director of Events for the University of Ottawa Sports Business Club.


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