In visiting with a president of a national basketball association team I learned some interesting facts about where science is taking our professional sports.
First, there is available to team scouts, a program, which identifies every inclination of any player at nearly every level. What this means is that a team can learn a players likely move in almost every condition. If they dribble left off a stance, favor their right side, percentages on shots from anywhere on the floor, vertical leap, floor speed, etc, etc, etc.
Second, there is a technique the team’s physician’s use to identify what muscles a player is using in making critical moves. Science has recognized optimal muscle groups needed to enable the human body to reach maximum potential. If a player’s body isn’t using the best possible muscle groups, or in the right percentages. The trainers can teach the player how to better use their body in the most efficient way.
The details of these points in our conversation held my attention as we talked; however, what I share next is really what caught my attention. The gentleman I was visiting with then said, “Our coach is pleased with the advancements technology has brought to the sport, but continually comments, there will never be a way to test for the heart of a champion.”
What is the heart of a champion? How are teams/individuals/companies benefited by having players/self/employees with the spirit that is carried by winners?
I spent a fair amount of my life believing that a top priority in selecting team members isn’t whether or not they are a champion. My first change of heart came when Jim Morris, a former MLB player whose life was portrayed in the Disney movie, “The Rookie,” told me, “The best athletes in the world aren’t playing major league sports; games are played by average competitors with the greatest heart.”
Too, I have learned as an employer, employing people who have experienced success in some fashion know they can repeat their success again and again. They start on task with a belief in themselves. Road blocks or difficulties are only character builders which are found on every path leading to greatness.
The difference of mind is ever so slight, but it is much more important than many realize or believe. In life when we set out on a new venture which challenges us; the beginning of our new endeavor is often met with fear or trepidation. After we reach our desired goal, we soon realize we can do more. We then push on further, realizing the path we mastered was much easier than anticipated. We challenge ourselves beyond what we ever felt plausible.
Here is a simple example. My wife Kim had a bucket list goal to run a marathon before her 40th birthday. She hadn’t been a runner during any time of her life. The start of her training held milestones of running short 3K and 5K races. These seemed so difficult at the time she ran them that she felt running 26.2 miles would be very difficult, perhaps even impossible.
As she moved onto greater lengths, soon running a half marathon, she became more and more confident. She ran and finished her marathon knowing she not only accomplished her goal but that she could run even further if desired. If she had chosen to continue at greater lengths she could have, but remember, there was a time she felt simply running the marathon would be difficult.
Think of many of the things you have accomplished in life that at one time seemed nearly impossible, then after completing your task, you were able to move onto even greater achievements in that same venue.
People have said, “It isn’t enough to simply believe,” which is true to some degree; there is a lot of work necessary to be great at anything. However, anything short of believing leaves one deficient of ever reaching the top. The heart of a champion is nothing more than the spirit of pushing beyond any fears, truly believing, and then breaking through any roadblocks presented along the way. Champions know barriers are necessary or everyone would be with them at the top.
Perhaps the coach’s comment is right; there isn’t any technology that can determine the heart of a champion. Yet, let me look into the eyes of anyone on a life endeavor and I will tell you if they are carrying the courage found in the heart of a champion.