How the Golden State Warriors Represent the Mental Game (Part 1)

Creating a Culture of Champions

The success of the Golden State Warriors can teach us about many aspects in life. Simply put, they can teach us how to win. Over this series of posts I’ll go into how the 2017 NBA Champions illustrate the mental game.

Building a winning mindset requires pushing outside of the comfort zone and being vulnerable, this is one of many costs of entries to greatness.

By being vulnerable it allows you to be free to go all in on the court, it allows you to fail, and through those failures is where growth occurs.

Steve Kerr is the driving force for the Warriors leadership and brings a sense to the team that life is much bigger than basketball. Yes of course he wants to win and have success, but he doesn’t tie his value and self worth into the wins and losses. By instilling a culture of “basketball is not who we are, but what we choose to do”, it creates the space to go all in without tying one’s self worth to the results.

You see this same type of thinking trickle down to stars such as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. They play free without worry, each with their unique personality attached to the game.

Steph is out there taking 30 foot off the dribble three’s, Klay is pulling up for three on a 2 on 1 fast break. These types of plays do not happen without true trust in your skills and a willingness to be vulnerable enough to take the shot.

Kevin Durant stated about the culture, “I had to be vulnerable, and open up to them.” “It’s a scary thing. But it’s actually better than what I expected. This shit is real.”

It takes vulnerability to learn and grow, the culture created by Kerr and carried on by the players empower’s that.

Kerr is known to leave handwritten notes for players, he makes it a point to appreciate life outside of the game, and the coaching staff’s mantra of “Get shit done or go have fun.”

A culture built off relationships and genuine care for one another creates an unbreakable bond. When employees and players are treated as people and not a math equation or analytic, an incredible culture is born.

The Warriors can deal with pressure because they have the winning wisdom that their identity is not tied to the results. They are free to go all in on the court, because victory always goes to the vulnerable.