Friday, June 12, 2009

Fishing For Another Title!

With 4 seconds left in the game, and being 0-5 from the 3 point line, Derek Fisher found the courage and focus needed to sink a huge 3 point field goal to tie the game last night for the Lakers against the Magic. First of all, how did he summons the courage to even attempt the shot, after missing 5 in a row? Secondly, how did the ball possibly go in, after not being able to hit the side of a barn all night? Then, if that wasn't enough, he did it again in overtime to give L.A. the win. 

Let me repeat: He was 0-5 for the night from 3 point land! 

My intention isn't to brag about the Lakers (although it IS fun to laugh at the Laker-haters), but instead to bring up a debate I regularly have with my students: Which is a bigger factor in playing your best under intense pressure moments? Mechanics or mental toughness? I've always contested that I'd much rather have someone on my team who loves pressure, wants the ball in the last second, or loves serving for the match, even if his mechanics weren't the best. The opposite side of the coin is the beautiful looking player, who doesn't ever miss a shot in warm-up, but can't ever make that same shot under pressure. I believe, without question, that proper mechanics are important, but without the ability to take your game to the next level under pressure, they mean very little. 

Athletes often train backwards: They focus most of their attention on the mechanics of their sport, while spending very little time on their mental and emotional games. The brain controls everything in the body, so why would it be any different on the playing field? Your mechanics don't control your game under pressure... your MIND does. If your mind is strong, your mechanics will stay strong.  I'm not advocating the lack of mechanics, but without the love for the moment, and the need to "have the ball" in the last second,  your mechanics will only take you so far.

Fisher's stat line: 2-7 from 3 point territory... pretty horrible percentage, yeah? 

What size ring do you wear, Derek?!

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