When your team is an underdog, or up against it, how do you get them to believe they can win?  Telling them to believe is one thing.  Defining belief for them is another.  Every one of your players is going to tell you they believe you can win.  That’s the easy part.  What does belief really mean?  That’s the hard part.

Belief has to translate into action.  It’s so easy for belief to be hollow, a false confidence that players love to show.  But if belief is something you want instilled in your team, you have to translate it into behavioral terms.

Belief shows itself in your effort, but it’s more than simply playing hard.  There’s an edge to your compete level when you really believe in what you are doing.  It’s a mentality that nothing that happens is going to knock you off of your path.  It’s handling all of the different situations that happen in a game, but never letting it affect your approach.  You know exactly who you have to be to win, and nothing is going to change that.

Belief is knowing that the game is almost never going to go the way you think it will, and being able to handle it.  Of course you envision your team playing well, your kids playing unselfish, defending with a purpose and knocking down shots.  But the game isn’t going to follow your script.  So it’s handling the adversity that inevitably comes in a big game without needing anyone to pick you up.  We are going to be okay, because we know who we are and what we have to do to win.

Belief goes back to trusting your preparation.  Nothing that happens in a game, nothing the other team does, effects the way you’ve prepared  for this game.  And if you really believe in the way you prepared, that confidence doesn’t change.  Your opponent can feel your belief.  The people in the crowd can see it.  Your teammates also feed off of it.  Belief is a mindset that translates into tangible action.

Belief is going hard to the offensive glass on every possession.  Belief is making the extra pass even when your opponent has you frustrated and you haven’t gotten very many good looks.  Belief is rotating to attack the ball even though you are guarding a shooter.  Belief is picking up the wrong man in transition because he’s the biggest threat, and communicating to your teammates so some gets your man.  Belief is putting our body in front of the ball on a drive even though you have two fouls in the first half.  Belief is staying spaced on the weak side ready to shoot, trusting the offense and that the ball is going to find the open man.

Belief is a lot more than just walking into a gym with your headphones on, nodding your head.  It’s a lot more than just saying you are ready to win.  Belief goes deep into your level of trust, so when things don’t go your way you stand up.  It’s more than just a statement.  It’s handling everything that happens in a big game with the strength and composure you need to stay locked in on every possession.