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.
On game days, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson warms up with yoga. He told Mlive.com this month that it keeps his hips and hamstrings loose. "I know it's something that works for me," he said. Former Lions quarterback Drew Stanton – and Stanton's yoga-instructor wife – introduced Johnson to yoga. He now uses it for stretching, to relieve physical pain, and as a way to relax before shredding a secondary.
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