Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

Even the greatest passion of your life can start to feel like a chore at some point. You might be dreading the next time you have to dribble. Or, you might find it pointless to give it your best during the game. Or, you might just start thinking that you’re not as good as you used to be.

If you engage in the same activity for years on end, there’s always a risk you’ll lose interest in it. Yes, even if it brings you immense joy right now (or it did before). Sometimes, it just happens – for any number of reasons.

The good news is that how passionate you are about anything depends exclusively on you. So, if you want to keep your passion for basketball for years to come, it’s completely possible. The same goes for rekindling it if that passion ever starts to dwindle. Here are seven ways how.

1. Make Time for It

If you have to squeeze in basketball practice in-between work, studies, and extracurriculars, don’t be surprised when you realize you can’t get your head in the game. Your subconscious – and, probably, conscious, too – are too busy worrying about your assignments or personal errands.

So, how do you make sure you can concentrate on playing – and enjoying it to the fullest? The best way to do it is by making your life less busy overall. Start small: offload your homework to a paper edit and writing service or find a way to run your errands faster. You may also have to choose between basketball and hanging out with your friends. 

Another thing you can do is schedule basketball practice if you don’t have fixed training hours yet. That way, it’ll be easier to prioritize it over anything else that may come your way.

2. Don’t Overdo It

If you feel like playing basketball has become a chore for you at some point, then perhaps, you’ve been spending too much time practicing your set shots. You can overdo it – even if it is your favorite pastime in the world.

Think about it this way. If you love pizza, would you eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for years? Probably not. The same goes for any hobby or activity – you can’t be at it every day and expect it to always feel awesome!

If you think this is your case, the solution isn’t convoluted: take a break. Use that time to refocus, redefine your life balance, and try new hobbies. After a couple of weeks, your thoughts will inevitably wander towards basketball (if that is your true passion, of course).

3. Find the Right Teammates & Coach

The people you surround yourself with on the court can make it or break it. If they put too much pressure on you, or if your goals simply don’t align, you’ll come to associate basketball with how they make you feel. That, in its turn, can destroy your passion for the game.

So, if you realize your teammates and/or coach aren’t a good match for you, there’s no shame in switching teams and/or coaches. In case you ever hesitate, just ask yourself what is more important for you: enjoying the game or whatever perks staying may bring.

What should you look for in your potential teammates and coaches? Well, first, they don’t have to make you feel too stressed or bad about yourself. Second, they have to be as passionate about the game as you are. Third, your personalities have to be a match.

4. Focus on the Process

The key to finding the motivation to do anything is a completely internal process: retargeting your mental focus. How can you do that? Shift it away from all the what-ifs and your goals to the task at hand.

In other words, turn off that part of your brain that overthinks how good you are, how cool you look, or how many points your team has on the board right now. Instead, live in the moment, no matter how corny that may sound: focus on how you dribble, pass, and shoot.

This also means another thing: don’t be too hard on yourself. Yes, even if you don’t score that three-point shot or slam dunk. Yes, even if your team doesn’t win the game. Yes, even if you don’t think you’re great at basketball. Focus on how much you enjoy playing instead.

5. Spice Up Your Routine

If you ever feel your passion for basketball dwindle, analyze your previous playing sessions. Perhaps, they were too repetitive? Too monotonous or dull?

In case that sounds about right, it means you have to break down the routine and spice things up. Maybe, you could find new drills for that end. Or, you may benefit from switching the environment – dribble on your neighborhood’s outdoor court instead of the gym.

You can also find new ways to put your basketball skills to work. For example, you can volunteer to teach kids in your neighborhood to play. Or, you can start a new tradition with fellow basketball lovers and dribble every week on the nearest park’s court.

6. Challenge Yourself

If playing basketball feels too mundane or routine, that might also be because it’s not challenging anymore. It’s nothing more than just a good workout, all because the game is too easy for you in your current setting.

So, the remedy is a no-brainer: up the ante on the court to keep yourself on your toes. This works not only on the court but whenever you need to be at your most productive, too.

Don’t have any idea how you can challenge yourself? Here are just several ideas for you – feel free to use them:

  • Take part in more and more advanced championships and competitions;
  • Set an ambitious goal, like getting picked by a professional team during the draft;
  • Make up some one-time rules to increase the difficulty level during a game or practice.

7. Don’t Put (Too Much) Pressure on Yourself

There’s a fine line between challenging and putting too much pressure on yourself. So, how do you know when you cross that line? Well, there can be several signs:

  • You’re so anxious about the next game that you can’t stop thinking about it and/or focus on anything;
  • You’re constantly under-performing because you’re overthinking your actions on the court;
  • You dread the next time you’ll have to play basketball because you might fail or be not good enough.

If you realize you’re under too much pressure, what should you do? The best solution here is to change your mindset: learn to focus on your routine instead of what makes you feel pressure. In practice, it can also mean relying on your muscle memory and turning off your thinking when you’re stressed.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

In Conclusion: Remember Why You Love It

If every other tip on this list fails to revive your passion for the game, don’t call it quits just yet. There’s one more way to keep your love for basketball alive: remind yourself why you’ve enjoyed playing so far.

You don’t need to guess here. Tap into all of your good memories related to the court. Maybe, it’s that feeling of achievement you were basking in when you were awarded MVP during a game. Or, perhaps, one of your best memories is that time you scored an impressive slam dunk.

Reconnect with those memories – and let them fuel your passion while you create even more memorable moments.