- PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT -
Too many athletes consistently perform much better in practice than they do in competition. One of the obvious reasons for this is that there is far more pressure in competition than there is in practice. However, the real reason for this performance discrepancy is because a lot of athletes mistakenly believe that practice makes perfect. The truth of the matter is that perfect practice makes perfect. What's perfect practice? It's when you introduce competitive elements into your training sessions. When you make some part of most of your training sessions resemble the physical, mental and emotional challenges that you'd normally face in competition you're involved in perfect practice. By simulating competitive or stressful situations in practice you will more readily prepare yourself for the stress of competition. So practice competitive drills in lousy weather conditions!
Scrimmage with refs who deliberately make bad calls. Play practice matches or games at the end of training when you're exhausted. Practice having to use your non-dominant hand when you dribble or shoot. Scrimmage one or two men down for the entire time. If you practice perfectly by consistently integrating the stressful elements of competition into your daily training you'll dramatically improve your ability to handle pressure at crunch time.