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.
Good news for men who run: You're probably closer to following Usain Bolt's pregame routine than you might think. Before races, the world's fastest man calms his nerves by talking about fast cars, women, and music. He wants to focus on things he likes rather than on the competition at hand, because he doesn't need to have his brain in the race to win it. His physical gifts tend to win the day as long as he keeps psychology out of it.
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