Getting Better Under Pressure

Yesterday I watched the Toronto Raptors defeat the Miami Heat in a triple overtime thriller.

For most of the game, Raptors star, Fred VanVleet, was ice cold. He was something like 25% from the field and 20% from three. A far cry from his season averages of 42% from the field and 40% from three.

But during overtime, when it really mattered, Fred Vanvleet scored 2 massive logo threes. It didn’t matter that he was ice cold the entire game, when the team needed him most he stepped up to the challenge.

I noticed that some of the best basketball players perform better under pressure; they’ve got the clutch gene as we say in basketball speak. I witnessed this in the 2019 playoffs when Kawhi went nuclear throughout that entire championship run including hitting the iconic game winner to advance to the Eastern conference finals. I’ve seen Kobe do it, I’ve seen Lebron do it, I saw Giannis do it last year.

I’m no professional athlete, I can only speculate, but all the men I’ve listed above have legendary work ethics. I’m reminded of the quote, we don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” I imagine that the clutch shot we see them hit in game they’ve practiced hundreds, thousands of times before.

January 30, 2022

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