I can't imagine any coach arguing with the fact that basketball players are bundles of habits. Habits are such an incredibly important part of what they are and how they execute. Of course habits can be good or bad. Understanding the importance of habits I purchased the best-selling book "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. It was a fascinating read. Here are just a few thoughts from the book regarding habits.
This first paragraph from the book breaks down habit and explains the three things needed for a habit. This is important if you are interested in creating strong habits or replacing poor ones:
"The process within our brains is three-step loop. first, there is a cue, a trigger that tell your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future."
I love Duhigg's two comments below -- it speaks that habits can be changed:
"Habits aren't destiny...habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced."
The follow thoughts are very profound. You can't erase bad habits. You can however, replace them. It explains why I can change my diet, eating properly for three to four months, losing pounds left and right and then suddenly revert back to prior eating habits.
"Habits never really disappear. They're encoded into the structures of our brain, and that's a huge advantage of us, because it would be awful if we had to relearn how to drive after every vacation. The problem is that you brain can't tell the difference between bad and good habits, and so if you have a bad one, it's always lurking there, waiting for the right cues and rewards."
The above statement also speaks to the importance of working with players and teams on their strengths. Too often, we spend too much time trying to improve a weakness to the point that the strength is not as strong as it once was. They are all habits, good and bad -- we must continue to recognize the cues of the good habits, continue the routine necessary, and especially make sure rewards continue.
As Duhigg points out "...habits are surprisingly delicate."
"We might not remember the experiences that create our habits, but once they are lodged within our brains they influence how we act."
It is also important to recognize a habit when it becomes a habit. As Duhigg tells us that "habits emerge without our permission."
How good is this book? These few thoughts come from the first chapter alone!