We have both been fortunate enough to work with a large number of professional athletes over the past 3 years, specifically professional hockey players which are fitting for our Northern climate. I often feel that I learn more lessons than I teach but today I was lucky enough to be able to share some knowledge with a wonderful young man that I hope positively influences his life.

I spent the hour car ride home ruminating on our conversation and I think it is an important lesson to share. This particular player is a “linchpin” in his organization (also the name of a fantastic Seth Godin novel which I highly recommend) and a top player in the entire league. He is exceptionally driven and extremely coachable.

linchpinWe were discussing an exclusive skill development coach that he utilizes and the rise in popularity. Obviously, this is phenomenal for the coach but this player was worried about other people learning the same technique and diminishing his “edge”. It is an understandable fear but in my humble opinion completely wrong.

Great athletes are not great because they know something others do not, they are great because they execute the fundamentals. Mastery of craft is the ultimate goal in any arena of life and that comes about by spending hours and hours drilling the basics. We search for complexity when we really need simplicity.

You cannot control what knowledge others have or predict their thoughts, you can, however, control your actions and ensure that you execute as close to perfect as possible. Winning/ Success is the result of executing basics on a consistent basis, not a secret recipe involving complex parts. What your opponent knows or does not is irrelevant because you are leaving them no opportunities. This idea is applicable to all areas of life, from school to work to relationships. You will always be presented with challenges but focusing on consistent basics will always create success.

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