Pro sports players are some of the most avid gamers out there, using all the spare time they get between training sessions, stints in the gym, and matches, to hone their skills with a controller or keyboard.
It therefore comes as no surprise that many athletes have begun to draw parallels between their lives as professional sports people and the pro gamers they may encounter on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
One of these synergies is that of the mindset techniques used by top level gamers and the striking resemblance they have to the ones that Boston’s new coaching staff members and sports psychologists imbue pro athletes with.
Here we take a look at the mindset techniques that bind the world of basketball and online gaming together.
Chess has become an online phenomenon with sports stars of all kinds engaging with chequered boards online, as they attempt to sharpen their tactical skills
Classic Games Instill Tactical Awareness and Forward Planning
While most pro ballers tend to stick to a staple gaming diet of battle royale games or those sports related titles like NBA 2K21, there are others who are known to engage with more mentally taxing games.
These tend to be the classics such as chess, poker, and backgammon, all of which are now easily available online and challenge players with almost limitless amounts of puzzles and problems to solve. Mindsets that are crucial to be a success at these games include being able to plan ahead, so a player can work multiple moves ahead of their opponent. It is also now common for a leading mindset coach who specializes in these games to extoll the virtues of visualizing high pressure situations, which is exactly what many basketball players are taught to do ahead of a huge game or series. Meanwhile, chess players rely on a steady balance of theory and practice to hone their game, showing that mindsets are something that need to be studied and trained just as rigorously as anything else.
Many online games require their players to display razor-sharp reactions and finger agility, two things that can certainly come in handy for basketball stars
Good Reflexes Are Both a Mental and Physical Attribute
Any top sports coach will tell you that training coordination and reflexes is just as much a mental pursuit as it is a physical one.
This is because a basketball player must be able to make a split-second decision and then act on it physically in an equally explosive manner. Online gamers are masters at having to do this, even if their physical exertion is restricted to their fingers. However, getting used to making multiple lightning-fast decisions in a short space of time can equip a basketball player with the sort of mental endurance that some of their rivals may not have in their lockers.
Of course, basketball players should be careful that they do not overdo their gaming stints before they are due to play a big game out on the parquet, because gamers – just like basketball players – can also be prone to bizarre finger and wrist injuries. Therefore, just as they would warm up before taking to the court, ballers should also do some finger and wrist exercises before picking up that mouse or controller.
Confidence Will Always Be Key
Another mindset trait that any sports star or online gamer will have grappled with is confidence. Often if a player is down on confidence, they will become less willing to display the cutthroat attitude required to grind out a victory, whereas overconfidence can also quickly lead to defeat out on the online battlefields or under the bright lights of an NBA arena.
Games are a great way to build a confident mindset because their difficulty levels can easily be tweaked, so a player can build their confidence before feeling comfortable enough to tackle expert levels again. If the Celtics go on a losing run, they would be well advised to get some easy wins under their belts online.