“80% of the game is between your ears”

“80% of the game is between your ears”, is what my senior high school basketball coach would say to us at our practices. He would say it at the beginning of practice as he would walk around the center gym where the entire team was standing in a circle, stretching.

“80% of the game is between your ears”, he would repeat out loud. The snickers and rolling eyes from some of the players (myself included) could be seen by those in the stretching circle. This phrase meant nothing to us at that age. We all wanted to finish stretching and start practice so we could play basketball. In my mind, my ears and anything between them had nothing to do with playing basketball.

What was interesting was what happened to me before most of the games we played. I had butterflies in my stomach the size of a 747. I had a hard time keeping my nerves down before games, which affected my playing. I spent more time worrying about making a mistake then focusing on playing my best. Guess what happened? I made a lot of mistakes. My mind concentrated on things such as what people would think of me if I messed up. I felt like every mistake would be seen by everyone and it would be never forgotten. It would be recorded and referred back to for years into the future.

I think back to what was going on in my mind when I was in high school and it seems so silly to me. Why would I put myself through this? I was a smart, athletic and a confident person. I didn’t need to buy into all those negative thoughts.

Throughout high school and into University, I had struggled with confidence in myself. I had all these thoughts in my head of what people thought of me. The majority of them were negative and untrue. Whenever I made a mistake, that mistake was replayed over and over in my head until I was convinced everyone was laughing at me or they were constantly talking about me.

One day while I was doing some writing in my dorm at University, I had a moment of clarity. I finally clued into what “80% of the game is between your ears” meant. I think it took me so long because this phrase in high school was a silly thing my coach said to us at basketball practice. I never consciously thought of what it actually meant.

My perspective of this phrase came full circle and I realized how this simple phrase was applicable to so many aspects of my life outside of basketball. I realized that my worries back in high school of making a mistake during a basketball game were directly related to the mental side of the game. Our coach gave us the insight into this; however, we didn’t receive additional tools on how to strengthen our skills in this area.

My moment of clarity helped open my mind to the fact that these thoughts in my head were in my control. Basketball wasn’t the only thing that involved that thing between my ears; life in general did as well. I began to learn more about strengthen my mind to control the negative thoughts that were interfering with my ability to have self-confidence and a strong belief in myself.

I believe that 100% of what we want to achieve in life is attainable by using that thing between our ears, our mind. I want to share what I have learned with others who need help in this area.

Today, the media can put pressure on people to believe they are not smart enough, not cool enough or even not good looking enough. This can put thoughts in our heads that we can’t achieve certain things that we want in life.

You may have experienced or are still experiencing negative thoughts, low self-esteem, low self-confidence and/or self-doubt. I would like to share with you more of my experiences to help you use that thing between your ears to rid yourself of these thoughts. I want to show you how to become more self confident.

You can achieve what ever it is you want in life. You can be confident and remain confident. You can believe in yourself all the time. And, you don’t need to worry about what others think of you.

In order to become better at using that thing between your ears to achieve what you want in life, you are going to have to work at it.

I have some questions to complete based on what you have read in this article to start getting the thing between your ears working for you. I encourage you to open a blank email, word processing document or get out an old fashion piece of paper and spend some time on your own personal development.

Now let’s strengthen that thing between your ears.

1. What does “80% of the game is between your ears” mean to you?

2. Based on your life, what would you replace “the game” with to relate this phrase to your own life? (ex. school, work, or life)

3. What are the three keys things that you learned from reading this article?

4. How can you use these three key things to help you in your own life?