Stress blog

Find your inner all-star

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. May 1, 2014

This is the time of year that the spring professional sports have their playoffs. In professional hockey and basketball, teams have been battling since September and October on their journey to win the championship. This is a time of intensity. A time of high drama where the entire season can hinge on one shot or one play.

So what can mere mortals learn from these professionals? At the end of the day, the teams that hoist the championship trophy follow three rules that you can follow too:

  • Focus. Teams attempt to eliminate distractions, and some players will even eliminate their social media presence. This is no time to resolve some domestic or business dispute. This is "show time" and requires a laser-like focus on the challenge at hand.
  • Fitness. This goes without saying. One of the most significant factors in success or failure is the health of the team. Many wise coaches will deliberately rest their veterans for several weeks leading up to the playoffs. For example, in professional basketball the effectiveness of a player decreases if he consistently plays a full game night after night. So coaches will restrict a player's game time to less than 40 minutes so that he will have "fresh legs" heading into the end of the season.
  • The X factor. And finally there's that indefinable quality that leads a player to raise his or her game as the season winds down. These are viewed as "clutch players" somehow deliver at a critical moment a level of performance far greater than they typically demonstrate.

So the bottom line is to look for opportunities to improve your fitness and focus, and to marshal your energies to bring home a winning season.

With

Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

May 01, 2014