Heath Evans is a marketing and communications strategist, innovator, entrepreneur and Coach.
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Stuff I write

Why preparing like an NBA superstar will make you a better professional (5-Steps)

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Every elite athlete will tell you that no matter how hard you train, it’s nothing like the big game.

However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t constantly trying to replicate that championship moment because ultimately they know that on that day the immense pressure is inevitable and their entire career is focused on testing themselves in that environment, so when that pressure comes they know they will run towards it.

So the question is, can we embrace this same mindset to make ourselves better professionals?

Here are five ways that preparing like an NBA superstar can help us prepare for our championship moment.

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1. Create a shot clock

Every athlete knows it’s easy to hit that shot when you’ve got endless time, but what about when the clock is ticking.

How are you able to execute as it gets closer to zero? Are you able to take the shot? Will you find a way, even if it’s not perfect, to pull the trigger and release it into the world, or will you just be left holding the ball waiting for that perfect moment — scared to take the shot in case you miss.

In trying to embrace the practice of regular blogging this has been invaluable to me. It’s your turn, take the shot!

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2. Work on your weaknesses

We all know how skilled you are dribbling with your right hand, but what if it gets injured? Will you just step out of the game? This is the time to work on your weaknesses, because when the big game comes we’re going to be rely on you.

How might you try using a different framework, different tool, different program, to learn whether you could stay in the game. The greatest athletes find a way. It’s awkward at first, but this is the path to becoming a superstar.

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3. Build a Plan B

There’s always a moment when something occurs and you need to change your game plan. You need to adapt.

In this championship game there’s never next week, the planning needed to occur months ago and every person needs to know how to flick the switch.

What’s your Plan B? Run your game simulation, create the pressure, try to break it. Go again.

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4. Put each other under pressure

There’s a reason that the NBA Draft Camps force athletes to execute their skills under immerse pressure.

They want to see how they will react when the heat comes. Everyone knows you can nail the basket when you’re in your comfort zone, but they’re looking to find that small percentile who can absorb what’s coming and drain the 3-pointer anyway.

They don’t pretend there isn’t any pressure, or that the outcome doesn’t matter, because they know that when you’ve spent your life refining your craft the outcome is critical and your team is relying on you to make that shot. They want to see whether you will step up to the plate.

This is where you learn so much about a person, and in most case the people who handle it best are those who’ve had the courage to push themselves to make that shot under pressure 100’s of times at practice.

 

Scott Mullins was definitely warming the bench in this team, but a superstar all the same

Scott Mullins was definitely warming the bench in this team, but a superstar all the same

5. Invest in your 6th man

You need them. In those moments when the heat is on, things go wrong, your star player has an off-day, plans aren’t working. Your 6th man can be the difference.

So how are you developing them?

How are you building their confidence so they know how important they are to your team’s success?

How are you making sure they don’t leave you midway through the season?

They know your game plan, they’ve been through every pressure scenario, they’ve become such a good player, so are you making sure they feel part of your team or will you just wake up shocked to hear they want to be traded because they’re sick of not being part of the starting five.

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These are just a few of the sporting analogies which really resonate with me and I’d love you to add to the list.

Ultimately the purpose of preparing like a superstar comes down to one core question:

How you will respond when that big moment is at your doorstep, and the pressure is coming at you like nothing you’ve ever experienced.

Will you run towards it, will you embrace it, or are you still not ready to be that big game player?

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