PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Graham Betchart works with many of the NBA’s top young talents: Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine.
Philadelphia 76ers No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons, may be his best.
Betchart, who has a master’s degree in sports psychology, is a mental skills coach and director of Lucid, a new organization which focuses on mental skills training. Betchart met the 6-10, 240-pound forward from Australia at the 2011 Top 100 Basketball Camp, hosted by the National Basketball Players Association.
“You’re gonna love Ben Simmons,” Betchart told 94WIP’s Andrew Porter on his Pulse Of Philly podcast. “You’re gonna love this kid. If someone wants to do mental training work and is open to it, right away you know what kind of person you have. You know you have a person who’s got an open mind, who’s willing to work, who wants to work on the stuff that Michael Jordan was doing, that Kobe Bryant was doing. I mean you have a genuine person who wants to be great and wants to put in the work to do it. So being around Ben, it’s really an awesome experience.
Listen: Graham Betchart on Andrew Porter’s Pulse Of Philly Podcast
Simmons, after missing the NCAA Tournament as a freshman at LSU, received criticism about his personality throughout the months leading into the NBA Draft. Betchart helped him combat the noise in today’s unfair social media era.
“One of the first concepts we work on is what we call WIN and WIN for us stands for What’s Important Now,” Betchart explained. “And the irony of sports is, you cannot control results and outcomes, yet you’re judged on those. So you have to make peace with what you actually control. And you can’t control if someone says you’re great or they say you’re terrible. So you kind of learn to just except both and you let the storm be what it is and you find that peaceful place right in the middle.”
Graham Betchart on the 94WIP Morning Show
So how important is mental strength compared to physical strength?
“I just throw out 80-20,” Betchart said. “At a certain point, when the physical skills are even and everyone’s got a pretty good body it’s all mental. Everything is mental. I look at it like 80-percent of the game at the highest level is mental and that’s how it works. And your ability to focus on the moment, to focus on what you can control, is what it’s all about.”