How do professional athletes perform at such high levels? Natural ability plays a major roll and physical training is essential, but there's also a mental component. Michael Jordan wouldn't have hit clutch shots if he were overcome with anxiety, and Ray Lewis wouldn't have made so many memorable tackles if he weren't so hyped up. Elite athletes know how to prepare themselves to compete at the outer fringes of their ability, and their pre-game strategies are more defined by what works than by what makes sense. Some football players do yoga while others eat cookies – but both players are following a system that yields results for them.
Here's how some of the all-time greats prepared themselves to succeed at a high level. It's only crazy if it doesn't work.
Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin plays guitar before his starts. "When everybody is doing batting practice, for me there's nothing better to do than just hang out and not think about anything before I pitch," Griffin recently told ESPN. "I like to chill out, relax, and mess around with the guitar." He also plays for his teammates, keeping the clubhouse lively with Led Zeppelin and Spanish standards. "We play well as a team when we're all loose and enjoying ourselves," he says.
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