Go out and ask any athlete if they want to play at the pro level. Most will answer yes. But how many of them actually prepare like a pro athlete? To become an elite athlete, it’s not only the physical abilities that count, it also takes the right mental mindset and belief system. And part of having the right belief system is actually putting in the preparation so that we can achieve our goals and dreams. If we don’t put in the work, it’s likely that we won’t truly believe at our core; that inner belief that we can become a great athlete. Even if no one else sees you cutting corners, you will. While you may be able to trick others, you won’t be able to lie to yourself. You will always see the amount of work you put in to prepare.
If you are not putting in the work necessary to achieve your goals, you will experience dissonance or a discomfort because your thoughts won’t match your actions. If you are in a state of dissonance, you will never have the right belief system to achieve your dreams. You will never be able to buy into the reality that your dreams are possible. So when the pressure is on and you need to step it up, you can bet that your subconscious mind knows what prep you’ve done or haven’t done. And if you haven’t put in the work, the pressure will only mount because deep down inside, you won’t trust yourself. No matter what sport you play, there is no better feeling on an athletic field than when you know you have done all that you can do to prepare yourself for that moment.
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher, Kameron Loe, learned this principle firsthand from fellow teammate Trevor Hoffman. “It was the first two weeks of spring,” Loe said, “and you could see the fire in his eyes stretching and getting ready for a bull pen.” Trevor is the perfect example of someone who knows what it takes to achieve success. Even if it was just a practice, “you don’t mess with Hoffy when he has something to do.” He used that level of Extreme Focus in all he did. Whether he was coming in to close when the game is on the line in the 9th inning, or just throwing another bull pen, you couldn’t tell by looking at him. He brought a high standard to everything he did. “There was really no wonder why that guy was the first to 600 saves,” Loe said.