This week, we asked you what you do when you find yourself wondering what the heck is going on with your team.
Here are five tips that will help you stay focused and stay sharp.
Take a step back: You can’t always know what the other team is doing.
That said, it’s important to take a moment to sit back and look at your own performance.
“The more time you spend thinking about what your teammates are doing, the better you’ll be able to stay focused on what you need to do to win the game,” writes Michael Pachter, author of How to Win Games.
“And the better your focus will be, the more likely you’ll actually be able a win.”
So if your team is trailing by two or three points, it might be a good idea to think about what you can do to slow down the bleeding.
You’ll have less time to look at other options to take the lead, and you’ll also be more likely to focus on your own individual play.
Make sure you have the ball: If your team has a lead, you can’t afford to be passive.
It might be tempting to take advantage of a late lead and run away with the game, but you can always play smart and keep an eye on the scoreboard if your players are getting beat.
Know your opponent: It might not be clear at first glance that your opponent is actually your best bet.
In fact, if your opponent has been out of the game a while, it can be tempting for your opponents to just start throwing fast breaks.
This will only make your game harder and lead to a lot of turnovers.
But you should be able for one simple reason: Your opponent is playing the game for you.
In the NBA, teams have been known to have a 2-5 record if their opponent hasn’t had a winning record since the start of the 2007-08 season.
“When a team is losing, it will try to get rid of the ball, which will slow down their offensive pace and will make them less effective,” says Pachner.
“But once a team has an advantage, they will start playing slower and try to take away that advantage.
When you’re out of a game, you’re better off just being aggressive.”
Know who you’re facing: The best teams in the NBA are always playing in a hurry.
They play fast and their pace will often get them into a lot more trouble.
This can be frustrating when you’re on the defensive end of a close game, as it can lead to turnovers.
“Most teams will play it their own way when it comes to their offensive offense,” says Chris Smith, a basketball writer for USA Today.
“They’ll throw it in their own direction and just try to score in the paint.”
But that’s not always the best way to go.
“Just be aware of what you’re up against,” says Smith.
“If you can take away the other player’s scoring opportunity, it could be a big difference.”
Focus on your strengths and weaknesses: Sometimes, your team’s strength can actually be your weakness.
You can learn a lot about your team by looking at how it plays when you don’t have a lot to do.
“You’ll want to focus your attention on what your strengths are, and how your weaknesses are,” says Mike McKeown, author, The Art of Winning Games.
And it’s that focus that will make or break your team, whether it’s a close loss or a win.
“Be very deliberate about what to do,” says McKeow.
“Focus on what strengths you can really exploit and weaknesses you can exploit.
This is how you build an advantage and how you lose it.”
And while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to play off your weaknesses.
“Playing the right way will make a difference in the end, whether your opponent can score or not,” says G. Terry Madonna, co-founder of Populous and a former NBA player.
“Don’t let the mistakes of the last game keep you down.
Be the change you want to see in the game.”
You can follow Mike McLeod on Twitter at @Mike_McLeod.