What Kobe Bryant knows about the relationship between confidence and championship performance

Conflicts of Interests: I am a huge Kobe Bryant and La Lakers fan. 

Recently, Lebron James has surpassed Kobe Bryant right now in terms of who is currently the best basketball player in the world in the eyes of the vast majority of basketball fans. However, there is still some lively debate on who has had the better career up until this point and who will end up having the better career when it is all said and done.

When I think of Lebron vs. Kobe I instantly think about what their most special and unique talents is. Lebron is the perfect physical specimen. If you could engineer a physically perfect basketball player you would end up with Lebron. While Kobe possess the mind of a champion. His unmatched competitive fire and his unwavering self-belief is what truly separates him from Lebron.

Kobe does and will always have more championships then Lebron James because he is embodies what being a champion is. Lebron James is physically far superior and most likely more fun to play with, but he is a front runner. That was on full display during the 2011 Finals, in which the Mavericks beat the Heat. When things are going well Lebron is at full strength; however, he has a strong tendency once adversity strikes to shy away from the moment and exhibit poor body language and communicates very negatively with teammates and coaches. (Don’t get me wrong this doesn’t happen all the time, but happens too much for my liking).

The moment in which this difference really became crystal clear for me was earlier during the 2011 playoffs. The Lakers had just lost their third straight game to the Mavericks and were now down 3-0. No NBA team has ever come back from such a deficit in a series.

The Lakers must have been absolutely deflated, as the game was not even close. How would they be able to bounce back. I was anxious to hear what Kobe would say in the press conference. I was absolutely shocked by what I heard:

“I don’t know, I might be sick in the head or crazy or thrown off or something like that because I still think we’re going to win this series,” Bryant said after totaling 17 points and six assists in Game 3. “I might be nuts. … Let’s win on Sunday, go back home and see if they can win in L.A.”

Any knowledgeable fans would immediately call for Kobe to be put in a mental asylum! This is just absurd, but it is this unwavering self belief that allows him to be a champion over and over again.

How can you develop such an strong belief in yourself? Why is it so important? We are all naturally confident, but usually we are only confident when we are comfortable and free of mind. This is the exact state of mind you need to be in to perform at your best during competition and this can’t be done when you are having vacillating or fearful thoughts because two diametrically opposed states can’t exist in the body at the same time.

It is said that over 90% of communication is non-verbal, while that exact percentage may be dubious the general conclusion that non-verbal cues is vital in communication CAN NOT be overlooked! Your body can’t lie! If you have a fearful or anxious mental state your body will reflect those thoughts.

However, this brings us to a chicken/egg conundrum. Are we timid and anxious because of bad body language or because of a bad mental state. The answer doesn’t matter because by changing one (either body or mind) we can impact the other. You are most likely an accomplished athlete or someone who is very aware of their own body. So it will be easiest for you to effect change in our body which would enable you to be more confident throughout your life and in any situation or competition no matter the stakes

How can this be accomplished?

It can’t be done overnight but a great prescription to get started is the following exercise (which I stole from the Art of Charm Podcast, I highly recommend you check it out). Every time you walk through a door-way use it as a cue to remind yourself to have confident body language. The two most important cues for confident posture is too visualize a string lifting your head towards the sky, and that you have a light on your chest and you are trying to shine it on everyone. I implore you to stop right now and chance your posture using the aforementioned cues. You will instantly notice a difference in your mental state.

You do everything like you do anything, therefore it is vital that you consistently practice to make confidence a habit and with due time you will begin to program the unwavering self-belief that is present in all champions such as Kobe Bryant.

Nobody performs up to their level of expectations but defaults to their level of training.” 

Summary 

– Confidence is key for athletic succes

– Body and Mind aren’t separate, changing one effects the other

-Use entering a doorway as a cue to change posture so that you change your state. This will allow you to develop the mental habit of being confident.

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