To become great in any area requires determination, hard work and an excellence-oriented mindset.
It is not easy !! Indeed … it’s very difficult!
It takes the determination necessary to dominate over competitors, the concentration not to lose sight of the goal of being the best in your field and the sacrifice of daily training, both physical and mental.
To become great in something takes serious and constant commitment. To be the best at something, you have to develop a real obsession with it. Many people say they want to be great, but are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness.
There needs to be a blend of obsession with the game and a sense of responsibility towards the world outside the court.
Another secret in tennis is to observe the details and imagine the alternatives to predict the actions of the opponents.
I take Kobe Bryant for example, in addition to constant training, another winning aspect of his approach to basketball was observation: from an early age Kobe enjoyed watching match footage and over time, once he became a professional player, this observation of the videos became part of his athletic training in all respects. He watched himself and others in match videos so that he could improve his game and learn new techniques from other players. Watching the footage, Kobe wondered why one game worked and another did not, why some players were successful and others did not.
When an action did not go well, he wondered why and what was missing for the game to be successful. He started looking for what was missing: first he looked at what had happened, then he thought about what could and should have happened.
“What distinguishes the great players from the champions of all time is the ability to self-evaluate, know their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”
In the end, the study of the match footage became an exercise in imagining the alternatives, the counter-moves, the options, and all the smallest details for which certain actions worked and others did not. Watching thousands of hours of footage, he became an expert in playing the game, so he knew exactly how to adapt his game to certain situations to be successful and remain one of the best basketball players in basketball history.
Making mistakes is a must on the path to excellence
A fundamental step to reach excellence is not to be afraid of making mistakes! This means not being afraid to change one’s own technical gesture, one’s own shot if it is not optimal! Do not be afraid to make a mistake, to make a bad impression!
We need to focus on trying to learn something new, because after learning it, it can become a winning weapon!
The difference between great players and legends is their ability to identify their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
To achieve extraordinary results, mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation.
Achieving excellence requires training not only the body but also the mind. Here again, I take Kobe Bryant as an example: he trained his mind by reading, meditating, observing, and training his ability to concentrate. By doing all this he strengthened his ability to be attentive and present in the moment, without letting his mind wander elsewhere. The only way to really grasp all the details on the court and spot the minutiae on the court was to train the mind to do the same things off it, focusing on every detail in daily life.
Mental training is also about listening to the body and act accordingly, because every day there is always a different variable: if you feel particularly tired … you should not go any further … but ok, rest and recover your energy!
Muscle memory can be trained: through visualization you can learn how to perform a move or be able to play the same way you have played hundreds of times in training exercises.
Listening and building muscle memory makes excellence natural.
By listening to their own body, they understand the difference between the pain of an injury and normal pain.
Another very important aspect is to look at exceptional people: it helps you to improve your skills.
Analyze, and get to know about the pre- and post-match routines and even the daily routines of the great champions! If they are champions, they are excellent at what they do. If they are excellent, then they are examples to follow!
Do you have a good coach or an extraordinary coach?
A good coach tells you or tries to tell you what to do
The best ones teach you to think and equip you with the fundamental tools for success. In other words, a good coach makes sure you know how to hit, that you can read the opponent and understand the game. A good coach tells you where the fish are, extraordinary coaches teach you how to catch them. This is the case in every area of life, not just in sport. In the middle of a practice match, a good coach can tell you what works and what does not, and based on that information and your sixth sense, you’ll immediately use some of that data and save more to use at crucial moments in the game.
The approach to greatness remains the same even in the face of obstacles.
Here, too, I always take Kobe Bryant as an example.
With the passage of time and constant listening to his body, Kobe Bryant’s training routine obviously changed. For example, as a young man he worked more on shots and before games he would shoot for a basket and some training but he also found time for himself. Sometimes he could even relax and watch television! Over time, his attention shifted more and more to preventive measures and in particular to stretching to prevent injuries, which could last up to two hours before matches. The one aspect that never changed in Kobe Bryant was his obsession with basketball, his dedication every single time and every single day to sport with the desire and the need to do it to the best of his ability. Over the years he changed habits a bit, but his philosophy remained the same. If a certain thing has worked for many greats and for himself, why change it to follow some new trend? Better to keep doing what works, even if it’s unpopular.
Bryant’s mentality never changed even in the face of injuries. Towards the end of his career Kobe had several: he tore his Achilles tendon, broke and sprained his fingers several times, fractured his knee several times and underwent many surgeries. But how did he manage to overcome these obstacles? As long as the pain was bearable, if nothing could be done about it and things could not get worse, he was back on the pitch. He never let fear or doubt make their way into his psyche. Complaining would not do any good. If a certain thing has worked for many greats and for himself, why change it to follow some new trend? Better to keep doing what works, even if it’s unpopular.
The first thing he thought in those situations was: “What do I have to do to get back to 100%?” That was his mentality: the desire to overcome the pain and be reborn stronger each time.
If you really want to get big at something, you have to really put in the effort. To be the best you need to develop a true obsession. Many people say they want to be great but are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness or are dedicated to too many things at once.
The fear of making mistakes and making a bad impression is an enemy of excellence. To achieve extraordinary results, you must always learn new things and do things that have never been done, keeping in mind the final result you want to achieve.
Be curious and ask questions to constantly improve yourself.
Observe the area you are interested in as closely as possible and ask yourself why things are going a certain way. Look for what’s missing, think about what could and should have happened. Imagine the alternatives, the counter-moves, the options, all the smallest details as to why certain actions work and others do not. The best way to predict what anyone is going to do is to study their game. If you find out what one likes to do in a given situation, you will be able to anticipate their moves.
Be aware of the emotions you feel and the ones you would like to feel.
If a certain thing works for you, keep doing it. Better to keep doing what works, even if it’s unpopular.
Work on your weaknesses, this will allow you to be versatile and unpredictable. What distinguishes great players from true champions is the ability to know their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.