Natural Talent is Only Half the Equation by Jennifer Reed (Health Series)

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Natural Talent is Only Half the Equation

Ask any top sportsman or woman how they got to the top of their sport and they will give you a simple answer. Hard work. Of course, talent is a prerequisite to success and any top sports person will have a natural ability over and above the average person. However, that is only half the equation. Natural talent without application is wasteful. College sports teams are littered with men and women who had the ability to reach the top of their chosen sport but did not put in the hard work. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB are the most competitive leagues in the world. In particular, the fast paced nature of our sport means keeping in tip-top condition is crucial. Taking a short-cut to success is not an option. We have been writing about basketball long enough to know that natural ability may get you noticed, but application, the correct diet and a rigorous training program are what will help get you drafted.

Lebron James may be the NBA’s marquee player but he has worked hard to get where he is today. When he was drafted it was clear he had a very special talent. Indeed, his first year at Cleveland was so successful that he won rookie of the year in 2004. However, Lebron refused to rest on his laurels. He knew that if he wanted to perform consistently during an 82 game regular season he would need to change his body shape. Lebron had always been a ‘skinny’ kid so he set about adding muscle to his ‘slight’ frame. He knew an intensive training program of lifting weights followed by quick cardio sessions would build up bulk and increase his stamina levels. The rest is history. Lebron James is consistently the NBA’s number one performer and is already a basketball great.

The number one star in the NBA continually pushes himself to be the very best he can. Squats are done by standing on a vibrating platform. Research has shown that this method of exercise works muscle groups more effectively than traditional squatting methods. Pull-ups, dumb-bell snaps, swiss-ball leg curls and push-ups are just a part of his daily training regime. Lebron is also an avid bike rider and is a strong advocate of this method of cardio.

Young college players that hope to go on and achieve great things in the NBA should study the fitness regimes of those that have already made it. Michael Jordan had this to say about self improvement:

“The minute you get away from the fundamentals – whether it’s proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

The Right Preparation Leads to the Right Result

Jabari Parker, Rasheed Sulaimon, Rodney Hood and Amile Jefferson know that if Duke is to succeed during the coming season then the right physical and mental preparation must be their number one priority. Duke’s roster is strong enough to do great things. Unfortunately, talent alone does not guarantee success. Michael Jordan had this to say:

“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”

Successful athletes will use all the tools at their disposal to optimize performance levels. In some cases this can include Nitric Oxide stimulants to aid recovery between workouts. Richard Bloomer, PHD, has been conducting research into advanced carnitines for a number of years and his research claims that Nitric Oxide is a ‘signalling molecule’ that aids blood flow to muscles. In theory this should help recovery and lead to an increase in physical performance. Mens Fitness.com states “Nitric Oxide affects the release of hormones and adrenaline. It is also said to speed growth and recovery times as well as increase blood flow.” Professional sportsmen and women understand the importance of using nutrients to supplement a healthy diet. Of course, any changes to a physical workout or supplements used should only happen after consultation with a medical professional. Although there is absolutely no evidence they can harm health it is always sensible to speak to a doctor before using.

Whilst the right diet and supplements do make a very real difference to performance levels they are no substitute for good old-fashioned hard work. To make it to the top in any sport, mental and physical toughness is required. A willingness to stay for an extra hour of training, long after your team-mates have left, is often what separates those that make it with those that do not. A positive frame of mind that abhors failure but accepts each one as an opportunity to learn more about oneself is a quality that will help college ‘ballers’ push on towards the NBA. Let us sign off and remember what that greatest of players, Michael Jordan, had to say about self-improvement.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it to happen, others make it happen.”

With the right talent and right preparation one is already half way to becoming one of those people Michael is talking about.

 

By Jennifer Reed