I was not a Bulls fan. I was never a Michael Jordan fan. I respected him, but never liked him. Never owned a single Air Jordan anything. But, I did enjoy watching the ESPN documentary, The Last Dance.
There were some things I had forgotten about and there were some things I had no clue had happened.
You can debate all you want about whether Michael Jordan’s method for getting his teammates to the promised land would fly into today’s game. I had no problem about him being tough on his teammates. They got championship rings, fame, and more money than they probably ever imagined.
I’m always been fascinated by the mindset and work ethic of the people at the top of their profession. Michael Jordan is no exception.
There was something said about Michael in the last episode that resonated with me. Not necessarily that I do it consistently. I’m working on it. But, this philosophy is what I’ve recently been preaching to my athletes.
What was said was this – Michael Jordan was amazing about not allowing himself to focus on things he could not control.
He was always present in the moment and understood what he needed to do to put himself in the best position possible to succeed.
For example, yes he felt that every shot he took he was going to make. But he didn’t think about future shots, say for the night’s game, and whether he was going to make or miss those shots. Why worry about shots he hasn’t even taken yet. Wasted mental energy and focus off of what he can control currently.
Be present in the moment.
Your training and practice will prepare you for what happens next. Believe you’re going to make the shot. If it doesn’t go in, then instincts take over on what to do next. Am I in a position to get the rebound? Steal the ball? Or do I need to get back on defense?
Jordan also knew he had to get his body better as he got older so he could better prepare himself for the rigors of each season. After 1989 and losing to the Pistons, he hired trainer Tim Grover, and each season after that trained in the off-season, into preseason, and during the season all the way through the championships before taking a break.
Then back at it again.
Yes, Jordan not only trained in-season, but on game days. He had to. He was not going to be able to maintain the strength and athletic gains he had made in the off-season trying to get workouts in on just non-game days. Wasn’t enough.
That being said, his training was something he could control.
Put his body in the best position possible and focus on the things he could control. Let his opponents worry about stopping him or whether Jordan was going to score 50 on them.
And if they don’t follow Jordan’s philosophy and his opponents focus on the things that they can’t control rather than what they can, the battle has probably been half won right there.