Sound Opinions

“Not” Top 10 and the Peak Performance Comeback

Every addition of ESPN’s SportsCenter concludes with the day’s top ten plays. This segment highlights the top dunks, catches, and extraordinary plays of athleticism in the world of sports. Any athlete wants to make this list and every fan waits patiently through the one-hour program to catch these often-acrobatic feats.

Unless it’s Friday.

On Friday, the focus shifts from the Top Ten, to the Not Top Ten plays of the week. It’s the blooper moment of the week in sports, and a Top Ten List any athlete is sure to avoid. These performance fails are often entertaining and painful to watch as we uncomfortably relish in their crash.

Take these videos as examples… A football player runs towards the wrong end-zone; an epic touchdown fail goes 99 yards the other way; and my favorite – set to the dramatic classical tune of Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz, two Florida Gator defenders block each other out. Then, there are these Top Ten Premature Celebrations that are sure to humble you.

This list goes on and is never ending. There is enough content of these flops to fill a Not Top Ten segment every week.

Athletes are given little room to be nothing but flawless. They are expected to succeed, impress, and entertain. When their flaws and imperfections show, athletes are often exposed and criticized. Their new challenge becomes the recovery of focus and confidence. It becomes less about how you made the Not Top Ten, to how you will recover from it.

Enter Peak Performance Counseling.

Peak Performance Counseling is the bridge that connects the experiences of the athlete to their desired performance outcomes. It utilizes mindful self-awareness to learn from past mistakes, while self-actualizing future success. Peak Performance is about training the mind to stay grounded, focused, and confident. It is the process of letting go of failure and not rushing into early revelries. It is the marriage of the mind to the body. It is about the moment.

Any athlete, actor, musician, artist, executive, or public speaker will tell you that despite their performance concerns, the ultimate goal is to maintain mastery over doubts and distractions.

This is true of us all. Despite your profession or skill set, it is my belief that we all hold the heavy weight of success on our shoulders. While you might not be a top tier athlete or successful touring musician, most of us are ordinary folk hoping to be seen as extraordinary. We work hard, parent selflessly, and habitually strive for better days. I appreciate the title of Shannon Haragan’s article the 5 Principles of Peak Performance for Non-Performers as it targets the lay performer. It validates that no matter who you are, there is a potential to flop, flounder, or flourish at any moment.

The Comeback Conclusion…

Tony Parker is a guard for the San Antonio Spurs. He is a 4-Time NBA Champion, All-Star, and Finals MVP. He has credentials. He is the shit.

Watch Parker’s epic free-throw fail and how he manages to maintain his focus and hit his next shot. Parker exemplifies that when we crash – all we can do is get up, and keep trying our hardest.

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