I recently ran across an article (Rockets.com, 1/21/09) about a list of goals kept by Shane Battier, an N.B.A. player with the Houston Rockets. Battier may not be a household name but even to be in professional sports (much less eight years and counting) is a major athletic accomplishment.
Battier’s goals are simple:
1. Get out of the first round.
2. Win an N.B.A. championship.
3. Make first team All-Defense.
4. Win Defensive Player of the Year.
Battier keeps his goals in his locker. “I just want to put them somewhere where I see them every day and am reminded of my purpose here.”
Battier also is renowned for the intensity and quality he brings to the pre-game mental game: “I try to prepare for my opponent as thoroughly as possible. I want to know every angle on the man I am guarding to give me an edge. I read many pages and go over strengths and weaknesses many times before a game. ‘Proper preparation prevents poor performance.’ That is a motto I like.” (Wikipeida)
Written goals? Keeping a list? Keeping it in sight? Intense preparation?
None of this is rocket science. Your parents or high school coach or first good boss probably said much the same. And yet, sometimes the simplest strategies, executed day in and day out with passion and verve, are enough to give us a winner’s edge.