You’ve probably often heard the term “mentality is everything” and its true far more than you may think. Don’t believe me? Here are some of the greatest athletes of all time that needed to have a top-notch mental game to reach an elite level of greatness.
1. Muhammad Ali: An Unorthodox Boxing Stance
Muhammad Ali was known to have a highly unorthodox boxing stance, his body was often left open to blows since his hands were down by his side. This is not what you would learn to do if you went to a boxing instructor, however, Ali had the mental confidence, and focus of a boxing legend. He was known for dodging attacks, and for his highly charismatic, overly confident attitude. “I am the best, I said that even before I knew I was.”
2. Wayne Gretzky: Not Your Average NHL Size
Wayne Gretzky was never known for his speed or size, he was never as “physically” fit a hockey player as the majority of NHL legends, however it was his intelligence, and awareness that made him “The Great One.” Gretzky himself actually states “I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed.” He was known to have read the puck extremely well, and made decisions to take chances when others wouldn’t. His heightened awareness allowed him to shimmy passed other players with ease, and his confidence in the game encouraged him to take chances when others wouldn’t. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
3. Babe Ruth: An Out-of-Shape Baseball Legend; A Record for Streaking Out
Even though Babe Ruth is one of the greatest legends in MLB history, he never looked the part. In fact, Ruth was known to party, booze up, and smoke cigars on a regular. “Success doesn’t mean you can’t overeat, drink lots of beer and whiskery, and charm the ladies, and stay out to all hours.” But his mentality was on par every time, he was a go big or go home type of person. So much so, that the same year he broke a record for most home runs, he also broke the record for most streak outs. His mentality was to take every opportunity possible.
The Science Behind Babe Ruth’s Mental Alertness:
According to scientists who studied Ruth’s brain, his eyes were 12%, and ears were 11% faster than the average person, meaning he could perceive things and hear things at a much quicker rate than the average person. These scientists also concluded that his nerves were steadier than 499 out of 500 people. Overall, he was at a 90% efficiency level, compared to the average person who is 60%.
4. Tiger Woods: Mental Focus Of An Eagle; Hypnosis & Subliminal Tapes
Although Tiger Woods does have the build of a golfer, his mental abilities far outweigh that of his physical attributes. In fact, as a youngster Tiger Woods saw a mental psychologist to hypnotize him for success. In Golf Digest, 2002 issue, they state the following:
“Woods’ ability to produce peak performance by “willing myself into the Zone” is unprecedented… And at the age 13, Tiger began mental training with Dr Jay Brunza, a family friend and psychologist…Among the techniques Brunza used were subliminal tapes and hypnosis. The first time Jay hypnotized Tiger, he had him stick his arm straight out and told him that it couldn’t be moved, Earl [Tiger’s father] says. “I tried, but I couldn’t put it down. [Tiger says hypnosis is] inherent in what I do now”
- Golf Digest
- Psych Classics: York University
- Boxing Uncut
- Image: “Ruth1921” by George Grantham Bain – Library of Congress. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
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