Drive – The Ultimate Athletic Trait and Mental Skill

Why do some athletes consistently excel when the game is on the line or when the “pressures” of competition appear to be tougher, while under the same conditions others perform inconsistently or are sometimes at their worst? ? Why do so many athletes often perform better in practice than in competition? And what is the one thing in sports that most often separates the winner from second place? For many athletes, the answer to these questions is no mystery – the difference lies in the incredible 3 1/2 pounds of electrical energy, power, and potential between our ears – our minds. The goal of almost all peak performance skill and mental training exercises is to strengthen and improve composure, focus, and confidence. These three “Cs” of peak performance are paramount in their influence on sports-related performance. Trace the root of almost all positive or negative sports performance experiences and you will find one or more of these variables. But there is another “C” of peak performance that is equally important: our commitment or drive. The great Bill Russell, one of the greatest winners in the history of all sports – winning 11 NBA championships in 13 years – once said that “the heart of a champion has to do with the depth of our Commitment.”

Of all the accolades and superlatives from sports writers used to describe Miami’s first NBA championship, most have focused on Dwayne Wade’s incredible will to win, push, and commit throughout the series. It is certainly worthy of praise. His total of 157 points during the last 4 games, including the MVP of his final, achieving 36 points, 5 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks, make him worthy. However, when we examine Dwayne’s career a little more closely, we find that the real reason behind Miami’s first NBA Championship has much to do with his focus and commitment to his career than with the heroic acts of his finale. the NBA. In just 3 short years, Dwayne has increased his career scoring average from 16.1 to 27.2 points. per game. His FT% has increased from 74.7% to 78.3%, his FG% from 46.5% to 49.5%, his steals from 1.4 to 2.0 per game, and his rebounds from 4, 1 to 5.7 per game, all with just a minor increase in minutes per game. Game Played. These kinds of results and improvements are not the result of trips to the mall, fancy dinners, and lazy afternoons playing X-Box. These kinds of improvements are the result of blood, sweat and tears in empty gyms with a serious commitment to athletic excellence and continuous improvement. As reporters, fans, NBA general managers, and coaches discuss the strategy, chemistry, and development of their draft pick, this is the level of commitment that will ultimately determine the total impact that each newly selected player on the NBA Draft. NBA 2006 will have on their teams. and the league.

Only winning Commitment and Motivation will bring out the best in any athlete

Without a doubt, your level of commitment, often called motivation or drive, is the number one predictor of how far your sport will take, from elementary school to state, national and world championships, Olympic gold or Hall of Fame. . Motivation predicts how far you will go to improve and excel, both physically (skills and athletics) and mentally (mental training skills). You could be the most skilled athlete in the world, with the most talented athleticism, possessing the most natural Composure, Concentration and Confidence of Maximum Performance; And yet, without motivation, all of this means nothing. The talent would be wasted. If you have no desire to achieve excellence in your sport, you never will; It’s as simple as that. Motivation stems from a deep love and passion for the sport you play and from a deep competitive drive. Passion is something that can develop over time or it may have always been there, from the first moment you picked up the ball and the first time you stepped onto the court … there was a feeling that something deep within you was coming closer. . live. For some athletes, it is purely the thrill of the competition that makes them feel alive.

But any discussion of levels of motivation at playtime should always involve two levels of responsibility: one level for coaches and one for athletes. Some coaches are world renowned for their ability to deliver the best ‘pre-game talk’ and enjoy watching their teams lock up their opponents with four-quarters of impressive intensity. However, the problem many coaches face is consistency. That same set of ‘magic words’ that worked so well for one game often won’t work for another, with each coach sometimes shrugging during an extremely important game while asking, “Where in the world is the intensity? We think we prepare so well! “This is where athletes must take some responsibility.

Maintain engagement levels

The following 3 “quick” tips will help any coach or athlete maintain a fierce level of intensity and a high level of motivation, regardless of whether the setting is a 6am practice or the biggest game of the year.

1. Inspire the athlete with a vision:

The great essayist Jean La Fontaine wrote “whenever the heart is captured, the impossibilities fade away”, and in few arenas this is more true than in the athletic arena. Athletes want to know and need to know exactly what to aim for. As a coach, don’t just ask the athlete to lead, tell him exactly how you want him to do it (on the court, off the court, vocally, through action, teaching, guiding, inspiring others …… specific!). General and non-specific direction leads to “general and non-specific” results. If you are an athlete, don’t just talk about the end of the year championship … get inspired and challenge yourself with very specific expectations and goals that relate to the very specific role you will play in the championship. How will you contribute offensively (what particular skills will you use to contribute?). And on the defensive? What is your action plan to develop these specific skills?

2. Set more ‘Performance’ based goals than ‘Results’ based goals:

Performance-based goals only relate to controllable vs. Results-based goals that relate to actual statistics. that are not always fully controllable. For example, if an athlete sets a goal of shooting 50% from 3 points. Line into the next game, or keeping a high scoring opponent in the single digits for the game, these factors can sometimes be affected by an opponent’s great defensive or offensive performance. Failure to meet statistical goals can be demoralizing and can add emotional pressure to a game or playoff series. This is not to say that “keeping score” and setting measurable goals are bad things. Otherwise; Sometimes this type of goal setting and tracking is absolutely essential. However, most goals should be related to ‘performance’ in such a way that they rely more on fully controllable elements, i.e. the intensity of the defensive effort or the quality of the ‘look’ or concentration that the athlete gave. to the rim before every shot. . Focusing on the variables that are responsible for the 3pt. shot that actually goes in (compared to the actual shot result itself) can often be much more productive while also relieving any additional stat-related “pressure”.

3. Inject more fun into practice and games without sacrificing intensity:

As is often said of many athletes and their relationship with their coach … “if they fear you in your presence, they will hate you in your absence.” No player gave 100% intensity in every game of the season to a coach he hated. Coaches and players must find creative ways to inject some fun into a practice or game. Creativity and fun in practice also have an amazing way of countering pressure. Pressure begins and ends in the mind of any athlete, and the physiological reaction to pressure the body feels through muscle tension, short / shallow breathing patterns, and general nervousness are nothing more than the brain affecting the body. Fun can counteract stress and the body’s physical reaction to stress in a remarkable way.