When my first client, Michael Jordan, retired from the NBA in 2003, he looked at me, recalling our 15 years together — all the early mornings and late nights in the gym, the triumphs and struggles and ice baths — and he said:
“If I ever see you in my neighborhood again, I’m going to shoot you.”
I’m pretty sure that is the highest compliment anyone has ever paid me.
After more than two decades of working with elite competitors — MJ, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and hundreds more in all sports — training them for physical and mental greatness, I know this much is true:
They don’t necessarily love the hard work. They just crave the end result so intensely that the work becomes irrelevant.
They’re comfortable being uncomfortable.
Comfortable with pressure, comfortable facing the challenge to constantly improve. And comfortable with the basic truth about relentless effort: If you think training is hard, see how it feels when you lose. They focus on one thing, and one thing only: Achieving the end result.
That’s the cornerstone of my work with the greats, and it’s what you’ll find each month in this space.
I’m not going to tell you how to play your sport like MJ or Kobe; most pro athletes can’t play their sports like MJ or Kobe. But you can learn from their mental toughness and their mindset for excellence, whether your game is sports or business or school or anything. Everything we’ll explore here is about realizing that there’s no ceiling, removing the limits you’ve built into your goals, raising your standard of achievement, physically and mentally. Not just in sports, but in everything you do.
Excellence isn’t just about hitting the gym and sweating. Physical ability can only take you so far; there are plenty of talented athletes who never maximize their skills because they only care about what they can do from the neck down. The greats know success comes from the neck up. We train the mind to teach the body.
We’re going somewhere different, because if you take the same path as everyone else, you end up like everyone else. I’m not going to tell you, “Everything in moderation;” moderate action gets you moderate results. You want advice on increasing your vertical? I’m going to tell you why it’s the most meaningless stat in sports. You want to talk about your inner drive and passion? We’ll talk about why your coach should bench you if that’s your greatest asset. Wondering if your skills will decline with age? Find out how the greats keep improving at 40. You pride yourself on being a highly emotional player? I’ll show you why it could be your greatest weakness.
I’ve been fortunate to teach and learn from the world’s greatest competitors, shaping and studying their training habits and mindsets, helping them to reach higher and farther than anyone dreamed possible … and then going even higher and farther. Never satisfied. Never exhaling. I’m honored that SI Edge has shared this space with me so we can do the same for you. This is how the best get better, and you will too.
Tim S. Grover is the CEO of ATTACK Athletics, world-renowned for his work with championship and Hall of Fame athletes. An international authority on sports performance and mental dominance, he is a keynote speaker for corporations and sports organizations, and the best-selling author of Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable and Jump Attack. Follow Tim @ATTACKATHLETICS on Twitter, and visit www.attackathletics.com for more.