Chris Matthews AKA Lethal Shooter poses for a portrait at The Dstrkt, in Los Angeles, California, USA on 31 January, 2022.
© Koury Angelo / Red Bull Content Pool

Discover how to compartmentalise and refocus like NBA coach Lethal Shooter

Chris Matthews, AKA Lethal Shooter, talks to Mind Set Win and helps us understand how compartmentalising is a valuable technique for truly processing and addressing our emotions constructively.
By Thomas Peeters
4 min readPublished on
Learning how to be fully present in the moment has been crucial to the career of NBA skills coach Chris Matthews, AKA Lethal Shooter. However, as he reveals in his appearance on Mind Set Win, it’s not a mindset he’s always had. It’s something he’s had to cultivate over time, and we can all do it too.
Host Kate Courtney hears how growing up, Lethal Shooter used to get so frustrated on the basketball court that negative emotions would affect his own performance and that of his team.
It was only when he learned how to block them out and mentally file them away, ready to be processed at a later time away from the spotlight, that he became aware of how to use them to his advantage.
Through this ability to compartmentalise, Lethal Shooter was able to use his emotions to positive effect and perform at his best both on and off the court. And it’s a mindset technique he now shares with others in his role as one of the most sought-after skills coaches in the world.
“If something negative happens and you hold onto it while trying to do something positive, they don’t match very well,” he says.
If you’re able to know what your end goal is and control your mental emotions, I think anyone can be successful
Chris Matthews AKA Lethal Shooter plays basketball at The Dstrkt, in Los Angeles, California, USA on 31 January, 2022.

Lethal Shooter is one of the most sought after coaches in the world

© Koury Angelo / Red Bull Content Pool

Episode 20 exercise

Compartmentalisation is a great technique when used effectively, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. For Lethal Shooter, he’s able to stay focused by ‘filing away’ what he’s feeling and making a mental note to himself to let them out and process them later.
As Courtney’s exercise in the episode explains, this is a technique we can all adopt and apply as well. The next time you’re in a situation where you’re trying to focus but there are too many emotions to process, maybe you’ve opened an email with bad news just before a job interview for example, try this way of thinking.
  • Firstly, find a moment to close your eyes and imagine a filing cabinet
  • Next, visualize opening one of the drawers from the cabinet and emptying all the emotions you’re feeling into it
  • Now imagine closing the drawer (it could also be a box, or an imaginary cloud you push away to the side, whatever works for you)
  • This process of imagining actually filing your emotions away for a short time helps you stay in the present, and divert focus back to the task at hand
  • Remember though, you must return to these feelings later on after the event, let them out, and start addressing them constructively
Chris Matthews AKA Lethal Shooter plays basketball at The Dstrkt, in Los Angeles, California, USA on 31 January, 2022.

Chris Matthews, AKA Lethal Shooter, is a renowned basketball coach

© Koury Angelo/Red Bull Content Pool

Compartmentalisation is a technique that can help you stop, focus and save those feelings for a time when you can truly address them
Now a mastermind of shooting, Lethal Shooter is able to transfer everything he learned on the court as a player into his role as a coach. Focusing on the psychological aspect as well as the physical has been a huge success.
NBA stars like Dwight Howard and Kevin Séraphin are just two of the names to have benefited from working with the American after implementing his methods.
In teaching his players not to completely bottle up and ignore their emotions, but instead be aware of them and keep them for later, he’s able to help them find an even balance in the moment, something he believes is a key ingredient to greatness.
“Some of the best people in the world, what makes them great is when the big moment comes, they’re able to block out everything,” Lethal Shooter says.
“All the top people we look up to, they do a good job of bottling it up and then letting it out when it’s needed. If you want to be great, you can’t think about what you did in the past, you need to think about the present.”
Find out more – including simple exercises to do at home – in Mind Set Win.

Part of this story

Chris Matthews

Recognised as basketball’s most sought-after shooting coach, Chris Matthews, aka Lethal Shooter, is one of the sport’s leading creative minds.

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Kate Courtney

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