Tony Gwynn loves hitting a baseball, and he devotes himself to it. Several times each season, he reads Ted Williams’ The Science of Hitting, a book he first discovered and read while in college. He watches countless hours of videotape. At home he has a library of hitting tapes, continually fed by his five VCRs that record games via satellite dish. He even reviews tape on the road. When he travels for games, he takes two VCRs so that he can tape and edit every one of his at bats. And when he is not swinging the bat or watching tape, he is talking about hitting constantly—with teammates, at the All-Star Game, with great players such as Ted Williams. Gwynn just can’t get enough. Hitting is his joy. He has been known to arrive at social events with batting gloves sticking out of his pocket, having stopped to hit a few.
“Fundamentals are the most crucial part of my game in the NBA. Everything I did, everything I achieved, can be traced back to the way I approached the fundamentals and how I applied them to my abilities. They really are the basic building blocks or principles that make everything work. I don’t care what you’re doing or what you’re trying to accomplish — you can’t skip fundamentals if you want to be the best. The minute you get away from fundamentals, the bottom can fall out. You have to monitor your fundamentals constantly because the only thing that never changes will be your attention to them. The fundamentals will never change. It comes down to a very simple saying: There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your fundamentals are wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
"Success is an everyday proposition. It isn’t defined by a championship game or the day you get your diploma, get drafted by an NFL team, make the big sale, land the account of a lifetime, or get your law degree. But the key to a successful life is in the journey and the process. It’s that emphasis on the journey to success that we work on each day, step by step.
To me, the process is what’s most fun in football, and I’m sure it’s that way for any profession. The process of going full bore into the season and balancing your purpose with your goals and the family you love and all the things you try to accomplish—it’s a daily adventure.
It’s important to let our goals spring from our purpose. It makes sense that if we’re going to do the best we can do, our best should come from who we really are."
Jerry Rice is to football what Michael Jordan is to basketball. He is simply considered to be the greatest to ever play the position of wide-receiver. Unlike Michael Jordan, he came from a small college into the NFL. To many, Rice is an ultra-talented receiver. But those close to him know better – they know all that he had to do to become the greatest. In his book, “Think Like A Champion,” Denver Bronco head coach Mike Shanahan wrote the following on Rice:
“Most people, for whatever reason, think natural ability is the most important power a person possesses. It’s not. People who achieve the highest level of success have an unbelievable work ethic, the desire to sacrifice. Everybody thinks Jerry Rice is the best receiver out there. He certainly is talented, but I guarantee you he’s not even close to being the most talented. He’s not the strongest or the fastest. Be he is the most determined. Jerry’s mind set was that nobody was going to work harder, prepare better, or sacrifice more. He convinced himself that he was going to outwork every receiver who came into the league relative to conditioning, lifting, studying — everything. He knew that people might not enjoy the practice, but you can’t get to be the best without.
Everyday during the off-season, Jerry would be up at 6:00 AM going through his strenuous stretching drills. He would run seven 5-yard shuttles, which he called “stop and go’s,” and fourteen more 40-yard dashes up and down the field. Then he would line up fluorescent orange cones across the field and weave in and out of each one six times at full speed, working on his acceleration and cutting ability. When he finished with the cones, he would run six more 40-yard dashes, and then 20-yard patterns until he was flat-out exhausted. Then he would lift weights in as quick a rotation as possible, no resting. Bench presses, seated bench presses, incline bench press, power lifts, dumbbell curls with increasing weights. I get tired just writing about it. It didn’t take me long to understand why every time we got to the fourth quarter of a game, while most of the players were slowing down, Jerry could run as fast as he did on the first play of the game. On the days he trained, Jerry would cap off his physical work with mental work. He would immerse himself in a game film of the league’s top wide receivers, studying how they ran their routes and what moves they used to get open. It was amazing to me how he had so many of the all-time records, and he was still working harder than anybody. It would have been so easy for him to be spending that time relaxing at the mall or on the golf course. But Jerry was sacrificing his leisure time to be considered the greatest wide receiver of all time. The only way was the hard way, he believed. And eventually, even though you may think nobody notices your extra effort, somebody usually does. Your work will pay off tomorrow, a year from now, five years from now, you don’t know when. But it will!”
From the magazine, "Get Motivated," comes an excellent article titled, How to Rebound From Setbacks: Ruben Gonzales, the three-time Olympian tells how he excelled in one of the Olympics’ most perilous sports --the lug.
Principle 1- Go All the Way: When you decide that quitting is not an option, you will soon be in the top 10 percent of your field. Odds are, ninety percent of your competition will simply give up!
Principle 2- Create a “Dream Team”: Ninety percent of success is determined by whom you associate with. So create a Dream Team of people around you who will encourage you through the toughest times.
Principle 3- Give Yourself a Pep Talk: It’s easy to get down when things aren’t going your way. After a bad luge run, sometimes I walk up and down the track for 20 minutes, saying: “I can do it! I will make it, because there’s always a way!” When you get down, pick yourself up and give yourself a pep talk.
Principle 4- Learn from Your Mistakes: High achievers believe that they will either do well at each task they tackle or they will learn something to help them win in future. As funny as it sounds, most successful people “fail their way upwards.” I was no different, crashing all the way to the top!
Principle 5-Recover Quickly: When winners make mistakes, they don’t waste time whining. They do whatever it takes to recover quickly, so they don’t lose their momentum. When a boxer gets knocked down, he has only 10 seconds to get back up. If he gets up in eleven seconds, he loses the fight. SO the next time you get knocked down, decide to act like a winner. Get up, take immediate action and make your dream a reality!
A reason for greatness in the great -- they love to prepare:
"For me, it's not just about the game, I mean I love practice. A lot of guys don't. I like going to practice. I love to work on a Wednesday, getting a game plan, trying to put it in the words on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and then taking the game plan and putting it to work on Sunday."
"In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing."