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.
LeBron James's trademark "move" began in Cleveland, moved to Miami, disappeared for a bit, and returned to King James's court routine this season. "I love my fans and they wanted it back," he told ESPN.com in October. Kevin Garnett has done a powder toss since the start of his NBA career, as one step in an elaborate pregame ritual. LeBron's is more casual: a flashy but simple signal that it's time to play.
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