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High-Performance Mindfulness: The Shooting Slump

Jake Rauchbach breaks down the shooting slump and ways to support players experiencing them.

Jake Rauchbach

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Despite the frequency to which players experience down trending performance, it seems as if there is still no clear cut consensus answer as to why players go through slumps, or a trusted way to systematically and repeatedly break players out of shooting slumps once they occur.
In the second installment of High-Performance Mindfulness, we will dissect the shooting slump and discuss the fastest way for breaking players out of one. We will also discuss how incorporating mental performance techniques into an overall player development program have been shown to obliterate shooting slumps, by training the mind.

Providing ways for players to move through down trending performance, I will share techniques that have been proven to help NBA, professional and college players break slumps and elevate offensive and defensive efficiencies on both ends of the floor. We’ll also discuss working parameters and best practices for incorporating a Mental Performance resource into the overall structure of an organization.

First, let’s start by breaking down what a shooting slump is! Here we go.

Shooting Slumps Are?

They are ALL mental. Mental clutter gets in the way of shooting mechanics during shooting slumps. This dynamic creates thought patterns that are not conducive for effortlessly shooting the ball. When these mental challenges arise, they can affect all levels of a player’s game. When this happens, confidence, and mental focus can be adversely affected.

This can have the effect of throwing a wrench into something as refined as a player’s shooting motion. Sound crazy? Sound too far out there? It shouldn’t. Most players intuitively understand this. During this past NBA season, players like Russell Westbrook, Markelle Fultz and Danny Green all experienced down trending shooting performance. Their struggles were well documented.

Based on my experience in working with NBA, college and national team players, Westbrook, Fultz and Green could likely have neutralized, and quite possibly preempted, their chronic shooting struggles. Integrating mental skills into an overall player development curriculum could have stopped the slump in its tracks.

Maybe, one of the most obvious examples of how the mind can affect shooting ability is the curious case of former Orlando Magic guard Nick Anderson, whose career implosion, self-admittedly, can be mapped back to Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals versus the Houston Rockets.

Anderson’s Magic were up three points after blowing a 20-point advantage. After being fouled twice, Anderson stepped to the foul line. He proceeded to miss four consecutive go-ahead free- throws, sealing the Magic’s fate that year as the Rockets swept the series in four games.

Anderson’s free throw percentage went from 74 percent to 40 percent in a matter of a few seasons. His three-point percentage, effective field goal percentage and several other statistical categories also worsened throughout the rest of this career.

Eliminating The Shooting Slump

No, it’s not tinkering with shooting mechanics, getting additional shots up, or watching more film. The fastest way to break a player out of down trending shooting is by training the mind.
How do we do that? It is by bringing players into the present-moment. Training mental focus and teaching players to be more present has a big-time effect on shooting acumen.

Approaching slump busting from this angle oftentimes has the effect of freeing up a player’s physical shooting motion. This is especially true when integrated into a pre-existing player development program.

Taking this one step further, working as an embedded High-Performance Coach within the context of college and professional coaching staffs, it has been my experience that operating from the inside of an organization provides the best possible probability for helping players bust shooting slumps and statistically improve performance over the long term.

Sitting on the bench in the middle of the player rotation during games, reinforcing performance processes in practice and consistently knocking out bi-weekly one-on-one High-Performance Coaching sessions off the court – those are the best practices when it comes to systematically breaking players out of shooting slumps while unleashing big-time statistical improvement.

The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks are two of the first teams to blend Mental Coaches into the overall coaching staff, with Dallas Director of Mental Performance Don Kalkstein acting as a pioneer in this regard.

When approached in this manner, players begin to view the Mindfulness Coach like any other coach, allowing the building of trust, rapport and credibility to take place. As this happens, the High-Performance resource has the requisite opening needed to implement the player specific, programs mentioned above.

As for shooting slumps, as High-Performance Mindfulness techniques and the role of Mental Performance Coaches are understood more thoroughly, the way players tackle down-trending shooting percentages and slumping performance will likely begin to change drastically.
With this increased efficiency in the player development department, expect shooting slumps to soon be a thing of the past.

Jake Rauchbach is an Integrated Player Development Coach, specializing in High-Performance Mindfulness. He has coached professional and Division-1 basketball. He is the founder of The MindRight Pro® Program and consults on the Olympic, collegiate and professional levels. Follow him on Instagram @mindright_pro and twitter @mindrightpro

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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