M A M B A // M E N T A L I T Y

“If sports were over 70% mental, WHY HAD NO ONE TAUGHT ME TO TRAIN MENTALLY?!!” — Josh Medcalf, Burn Your Goals

Serious players work hard on their game. Wise players work hard on their mind.

The “busts” of professional sports always have one thing in common, their mentality. Unless a high draft pick in a professional sport experienced a career ending injury, we can usually boil down their lack of excellence to their mind. They were satisfied with the money, making it to the pros, or were so talented their entire lives, that they never had to work hard for success in their sport. And the truth is, there are a lot of talented players.

On the other hand, the athletes who maximized their abilities gave serious attention to their mindset, or developed a mind that was greater than their phenomenal game. A will that is greater than their skill. What is a must in maximizing your talents, is your mentality. No athlete, or professional in any industry, has epitomized an elite mindset than Kobe Bryant. The following quotes are from Kobe Bryant that I will expound upon for players.

“Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

Think of someone who hasn’t faced a challenge. Now think of their character, their work ethic, or their drive. I’m not saying they are a bad person, but chances are, that person you know who has faced no challenges, typically is satisfied with an average life, and that’s ok for them. They can live that kind of life. But for serious athletes, an average life, an average career is not ok, and I’m with you.

Be wise to go ahead now and mentally prepare for that future “negative”. An injury, a scoreless game, a loss in the region or conference championship. It’s going to happen. This suggestion might be contrary to the advice you’ve ever heard, but I think that elite competitors crave a setback, a failure, and sometimes that is the best way to face a challenge: to embrace it, crave it, and want it. My question for you: Do you want to avoid all setbacks, get through them, or want setbacks because you know that setbacks are really forward launches when handled with the right mindset.

“One thing you gotta know about me is I have absolutely no filter. I have no problem saying what the hell I think of someone.”

First, I don’t think that this quote means Kobe goes around name-calling, hating on his teammates or whoever is with him. This mindset isn’t about being mean, it’s about being 100% honest. This quote and this aspect of an elite mindset is about being brutally honest, in both positive and negative lights, to your teammates. If your point guard had a decent game, don’t tell him “Great game!” That’s dishonest. Instead tell him, “We both know you weren’t at your best tonight. But we’re going to come back next game ready to go.” If your captain had a terrible practice, be honest. Tell them something, “Hey, we have to have better practices from you than we did today. Our team has the mission of becoming our best, to win the region and conference, and your effort today didn’t match up with that. You can do better.” Be consistently honest so that everyone you compete with knows they can trust the words that come out of your mouth, whether flattering or convicting.

“The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.”

There’s two kinds of ways to call out a teammate, or to hold them accountable to the team standards. One, is to only acknowledge their mistakes and to only talk to them when they mess up. The other way is to build a firm ground for that relationship to exist. This firm ground comes when your teammate realizes you want to see them at their best, and because you want that, you aren’t going to let them take plays off, be lazy in practice, or be anything less than their best. Genuinely want to see your teammates to succeed, and honestly let them know that. Think about it from your shoes. When you have someone in your life who truly wants you to be successful, then you know that when they call you out, they have good intentions. They are not just being a pest.

Of course, an elite mentality has more aspects than these three quotes, but these three are essential. If you can adopt these, your mindset will improve, and your effectiveness will increase!

Thank you for reading.

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