What if we told you something that takes less than five minutes a day could improve your basketball performance? Journaling for basketball can actually lead to more wins on court. Writing things down in a basketball journal will help you see your progress and build on your success; follow through on building new habits; and be more grateful, so you can thrive on the court and off.
As a result, many WNBA and NBA pros use basketball journaling as a technique to help them prepare for play. Minnesota Lynx sharp shooter Kayla McBride turned to journaling to overcome anxiety a few years ago.
“I remember when my anxiety was really, really terrible. When I was waking up it’d feel like there was like a weight sitting on my chest. And I know that when I’m releasing these things, you know doing my journal, my meditation, doing the things that allow me to kind of free myself from these small weights, that’s when I find myself in these really great spaces.” said Kayla McBride.
Though it took her a while, and trying a few different things, to figure out the type of journaling that worked best for her. “I’m not necessarily the type of person that’s going to journal every day, not for 20 minutes or things like that. But that’s something I had to learn. Because there was a point where I was writing stuff down and then I was like ‘Man, first thing in the morning trying to write things down!’ Well, now I found this 5 minute journal where it’s like ‘OK, 3 things in the morning, 2 things at night.’ But that’s something I had to learn about myself.” she said.
So today, we’ll explore how to use a journal to maximize your results including progress against basketball goals, de-stressing and increasing your gratitude, and keeping track of other notes such as plays. We’ll also provide a few quick links to journals so you can get started right away. Let’s get after it!
How journaling for basketball can improve your play
How can you objectively evaluate your progress and build on your success? As a way to spark creativity and generating new ideas for improving your performance, debrief your game play on a regular basis. Be sure to evaluate the mental, technical, and tactical aspects of your performances and practices.
1. Record your progress
Golden State Warrior’s Klay Thompson started journaling when the Warriors were shaping their championship dynasty. “I love to write,” the sharpshooting guard told NBC Sports Bay Area at Warriors Media Day on the Dubs Talk Podcast. “I started documenting how I feel on the court. What adversity the team is facing. How I’m feeling mentally,” he explained.
“I just think when you write down your thoughts on paper, it’s like a decompression method. To be able to read and write is an incredible gift, and I’ve been trying to sharpen my mind in the times where I can’t be my athletic self,” Klay said.
Specifically ask yourself these questions to think broadly about each area of your game:
- What did I do that was good?
- What needs to get better?
- What changes should I make to become my best?
Record your responses to these questions within 48 hours of your game, recommends The Champion’s Mind. Examine what’s not working for you, and decide what to do differently. Give yourself credit where credit is due. And start working on the right things in practice so you can take your game to the next level. Review your journal periodically – at least once per month – to track your progress.
2. Record what you’re grateful for
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote, “A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” Several studies in the field of positive psychology demonstrate that expressions of gratitude can encourage individuals to thrive. Being thankful is one of the strengths most strongly correlated with well-being. Numerous studies have confirmed the mental health benefits of keeping a “gratitude journal” or regularly listing things you’re grateful for.
Try recalling and writing down five good things that happen every day. For example, a teammate gave you a compliment, a drill you enjoyed, a moment in the car when a great sone came on, a sandwich you loved, or getting helpful feedback from your coach. This will give you the chance to briefly relive, savor, and appreciate the experience.
Feeling gratitude sets the tone for improving and enjoying your game and life experiences. It can also create positive relationships with family, friends, teammates, and coaches, which in turn have a positive impact on you.
3. Take notes
A basketball journal can also help you keep track of all the other things that can impact your performance too. Here are just a few other ways a journal can come in handy;
- Keep track of plays and your responsibilities within them
- Write down feedback from your coaches
- Write down feedback from your teammates
- Include inspirational quotes or phrases
- Recording players’ tendencies when you’re watching film
Explore the best basketball journals
If you’re ready to start seeing how writing things down can make you a better hooper, here are a few journals to pick from:
- A journal designed by a pro for building better habits
- This is a nice journal that also has courts on it for easy play recording
- Here’s a simple blank basketball journal without prompts
- Check out a blank journal that’s super portable and light
- See a general 3-minute positivity journal
- This is a 26-week journal program for all athletes and includes coloring
- Here’s a journal for younger hoopers that includes prompts
- This is a daily goals and daily reflections journal
Get started with basketball journaling
Now you know how to begin keeping track of your basketball progress and how to continue improving it. And it’s as simple as taking a few minutes each day to write things down! Up next, learn how positive self-talk in basketball can enhance your performance too.
This site is reader supported. If you purchase some of the items linked from this post, they send us a little funding to help keep our pro hoops reporting flowing – and it doesn’t cost you any more than it always would. Thank you!