“The heart of a champion has to do with the depth of our Commitment.” Bill Russell

The championship crown, winning the playoff title, eluded LeBron James once again. He is in a league of his own when it comes to basketball. When LeBron is focused, he plays a brilliant game of basketball. When his game is off; however, there is more to it than just being tired or having an “off day.”

LeBron James is part of the Miami Heat’s Dream Team. From pre-season games which were not very pretty to post-season playoffs, the team has undergone a significant transformation this year. Three NBA All-Star players, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh joined forces, positioning the team as the underdog going into this season’s play-offs.

The Miami Heat making it to the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks is a milestone.

Not winning the series has a silver lining. It would be like a first year rookie rising to superstar status too quickly. Something unique occurs when time, effort and energy is put into the game; similar to separate ingredients in a recipe combined to create a rich flavorful dish. Entitled players have difficulty dealing with adversity. There is still more work to be done for LeBron and the dream team to reach their full potential.

LeBron knows his strengths as well as his shortcomings. Off season is the ideal time to work on his mindset to raise the bar, improving his performance under high pressure situations. Strengthening his mental game goes beyond traditional techniques used by sports psychologists.
Stats reveal a track record of strong performance during close fourth quarter games. Sports commentators acting as armchair therapists were boggled by LeBron’s sudden change in performance. The majority of sports psychologists primarily discussed the obvious about LeBron’s fourth quarter on the court, focusing on the connection between thoughts and actions.

To truly transform the block, requires more than typical role playing, visualization and other mindset techniques. What is observed, but not addressed, is the energy shift which caused his game to be off. Triggers, which affect performance, rarely occur on a conscious level. Unleashing the blocked energy is the missing link to playing consistently under all circumstances.

LeBron mentioned being “off” his game, something each person experiences from time to time. Professionals, however, are expected to have the skill to rise above that, performing consistently, no matter how they are feeling. Energy becomes impacted by thoughts without conscious awareness. Thoughts, triggering emotions, generate positive or negative energy. Something each person experiences, but rarely understands.

When focusing thoughts on the negative, the energy flow, or qi, in a persons body changes polarity and the flow becomes reversed. It is not something that is felt as it occurs. The polarity reversal is similar to placing the batteries in a toy backwards. The batteries may have a full charge, but if they are not correctly lined up with the contacts, the energy will not flow out of the battery and the toy will not work. During post-game interviews he mentioned feeling “off.”

Negativity is a drain on energy. LeBron’s performance slacked off during each fourth quarter game. Realizing he was not playing to his potential magnified the problem. “I put a lot of pressure on myself not to let my teammates down — maybe to a fault at times that I put so much pressure on myself,” James said.

Increased tension severely impacted his performance, evidenced by totaling only nine fourth-quarter points in the four games against the Mavericks
Coaching has helped LeBron improve his game. Jump coaches help to jump higher. To improve his throws, there is throw coaching. Imagine how the playoffs would have ended differently if he had sought out a performance coach to help with his mental game.

The best athletes understand the strategy behind the game. Exceptional athletes, willing to do whatever it takes to be great, take their game to the next level by strengthening their mindset. White knuckling it is not the solution. Toughing it out only feeds the negative energy leading to erratic performance.

Energy is powerful. Underdogs overcome the odds when driven to win. To play consistently, under all circumstances, working with a performance coach to strengthen his mindset will unleash his full potential. LeBron has laser focus, on occasion. Imagine how his game will change once he builds his mental game muscle to consistently focus on winning. LeBron is highly competitive. By rising up to this challenge, his performance will improve exponentially.

Activity: Remember the last time your performance was “off.” Was this an isolated incident or part of a pattern? Try to recall what triggered the change in focus. Thoughts impact performance. Learn from this experience. If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently? How would that change the outcome? The next time you are in a similar situation, change your response to one which keeps your head in the game.

Do you perform well for part of a competition, but have difficulty maintaining your edge? Once your mind wanders it becomes difficult to refocus. Technically, you know what you are capable of doing. Your mindset, however, prevents you from consistently performing at the top of your game. The Expert Sports Performance System is an easy step-by-step process helping you to get out of the struggle and get back in the game with renewed energy. Winners act with speed.

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If you are reading this and it feels true for you, then get in touch with Loren for a FREE Discovery Session at info@expertsportsperformance.com