Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who Wants It More?

Tonight I was watching the Canucks game before heading out to the bar to watch UFC when I saw something I just had to write about. The broadcast showed a clip of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo practicing in the morning and the announcer said, "you never see goalies practice like that before a 4 o'clock game."

That struck me as odd. Why wouldn't a goalie want to get as much practice in as possible? This thought led me to think about
Kobe Bryant and how his work ethic is second to none. It is widely known that Kobe gets up everyday at 6am and goes and shoots baskets for 2-3 hours before his regular practice. Then something clicked.

Maybe guys like Kobe and Luongo are so great at what they do because they put in more effort than everyone else. Not exactly groundbreaking logic I know but if it is so simple ask yourself this, 'why wouldn't every other athlete try as hard to be great?'

Before I continue I don't want this to turn into a debate about whether or not Kobe is the best player in the NBA or if Luongo is the best goalie in the NHL. They are both elite levels players in their respective sports and let's leave it at that. Back to my main point.

Obviously both Kobe and Luongo are naturally talented and may have some inherent skills that make them really good at what they do but both reached that next level, the level of excellence, by working harder than everyone else. Naturally ability will only take you so far. Once you reach that plateau it becomes necessary to put in that extra work to get better.

Kobe is the best example of this. In 2008 Kobe led the Lakers to the NBA Finals where they were destroyed by the Boston Celtics. After the devastating loss Kobe hit the gym harder than ever before and practised more than he ever had in his entire career. The end result? He led the Lakers to the 2009 NBA Championship where they beat the Orlando Magic. Kobe was the best player on the team and inspired his teammates to be better with his work ethic.

Think I am making this up? Read about
LeBron James' experience with the Redeem Team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. LeBron is quoted as saying he saw Kobe getting up early and putting in extra work. He said that motivated him to be better and to work as rd, if not harder, than Bryant. The end result? 2009 NBA MVP LeBron James.

Luongo clearly has not had the influence that Kobe has or if he has it hasn't been as well documented but the fact remains that he works harder than most and is successful.

Who wants it more? This is a common phrase in sports that gets tossed around a lot by coaches and analysts who feel that winning and losing comes down to desire. I used to brush this off as a tired old cliche but I see now it has merit. The people who succeed in sports, and in every area of life, are usually the people who have worked harder than everyone else to get where they are.

Obviously talent plays a large factor in how good someone will be but as I said earlier talent can only take you so far. A list a mile long could be made of all the athletes who went pro and failed. Did they lose their talent overnight? No, what happened was they relied too heavily on their talent and didn't develop a work ethic.

What baffles me is how people can see the success guys like Luongo and Kobe have had and not mimic their choices. I mean if I was in the NBA I would try and be exactly like Kobe. You can rip on that all you want but the guy has 4 Championship rings and a shitload of awards.

LeBron was smart enough to follow the lead of Kobe and as a Canuck fan I can only hope that the other players on the team follow the example of Luongo.

The secret to success really isn't that big of a secret after all.

Random YouTube Video

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kobe and Luongo are not the best. Especially Kobe, but especially Luongo.