How emotional intelligence is a superpower in the NBA


When we think about what it takes to become a successful basketball player in the NBA, we usually start to think about a huge amount of training, physical strength, speed, precision, handling the ball. , jumping ability, etc. Besides physical skills and mental toughness, it’s time to look at the psychological side of the game. In many professional fields we think of critical thinking skills, commonly referred to as IQ. In sports, we can think of athletic intelligence and muscle memory. However, these two dimensions of competence only cover the broad spectrum of what leads to global greatness.

Another completely different area of ​​talent is often referred to as People Reading, Empathy, Social Skills and Emotional Intelligence, or EQ. First invented by psychology professors John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, EQ is defined as “the ability to accurately perceive your own emotions and those of others; understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and manage your own emotions and those of others. emotions of others. “

What does EQ have to do with basketball?

More than you think. If you’re surrounded by all the other elite athletes, EQ can be a significant differential advantage. A great article on basketball and emotional intelligence has appeared on, breaking down a number of key attributes high EQ basketball players don’t waste time on. These attributes include not wasting their energy on referees and stopping communication.

When the going gets tough in the heat of the moment, the last thing you want to do is waste all of your time and energy on things you can’t control. Instead, an emotionally intelligent player steps up their game and communicates when necessary. to get everyone in the fray. It doesn’t matter if it’s a close race or a total blowout, they take the game seriously and bring whatever elevates the team around them.

Which players had a high EQ?

It’s clear that some of the greatest players of all time embraced emotional intelligence to reach the top, including GOAT, Michael Jordan. Otherwise for MJ’s trainer, that may not have become a reality. “If you’re standing in one place, you’re actually losing,” Grover says. “You have to keep moving forward. No matter how small your steps are, you have to keep overcoming these challenges. Keep pushing. Keep moving.” Grocer went on to train several elite basketball stars, including Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant, to name a few.

A study published in The Sport Journal confirmed that top performers on EQ reported higher scores across the area of ​​emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and relationship management.

In conclusion

We could all bear to internalize emotional intelligence, on and off the basketball court. Learn more about how emotional intelligence can be embraced in the professional basketball performance arena and beyond in in-depth visual diving below:


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