Professional sports people use a variety of tricks and techniques to give themselves the edge over their competition.
Sports science and sports psychology have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, helping sports stars maximise their chances of success.
Read on for our 10 secret tricks all great sports professionals use to get ahead.
Keep exercise simple
LeBron James is one of the best basketball players of all-time, but he is a fan of simple workouts. James loves cycling outdoors, which improves his cardio fitness and conditioning, and he has reportedly even cycled to and from NBA games. Cycling or running outside is a great way for anyone to maintain fitness.
Getting enough sleep is important for our health and wellbeing, but the value of power naps should also not be ignored. Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is a fan of an afternoon nap and it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about being successful in sport.
There’s no ‘I’ in team
Michael Schumacher was the world’s greatest ever Formula One driver, but he never underestimated the contribution of the team behind him. “When you start out in a team, you have to get the teamwork going and then you get something back,” he once said, proving that there’s no ‘I’ in team.
Relax your diet from time to time
Eating healthily is undoubtedly good for us, but it’s important to treat ourselves once in a while. Tennis star Maria Sharapova occasionally indulges in sweets to treat herself after a tough workout and there’s nothing wrong with this as long as people get the balance right.
Confidence can be a huge factor in sport and it’s something many stars struggle to keep at a high level consistently during their career. UFC fighter Conor McGregor was once asked if he ever thought about losing and he said: “yeah, twice, and they were before my only two losses.”
Be prepared to innovate
Russian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first woman to be awarded a perfect 10 in an Olympic competition. She believed that innovation in her craft was crucial, allowing her to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Don’t undervalue your coach
Top British tennis star Andy Murray has enjoyed some of his most successful periods with Ivan Lendl as his coach. Lendl’s no-nonsense style seems to be the perfect fit for Murray and highlights the value a sports professional can gain from a coach he or she trusts.
Trust your talent
Ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leading scorer in the NHL, but that didn’t happen by accident. The Canadian once said “you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take”, proving that he backed his talent to consistently fire the puck past netminders.
Famous basketball coach Jim Valvano’s famous speech at the ESPY awards in 1993 was a fantastic reminder about the power of the mind. “If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day, that’s a heck of a day,” he said. “You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.” Wise words.
Your legacy matters
Oscar de la Hoya was just six-years-old when he met Muhammad Ali for the first time. “Kids, listen to me,” said Ali. “It’s good to want to be a champion. I know that’s why you are here and why you work hard. But, never forget: It doesn’t matter what happens inside the ring – what matters is what you do outside the ring.” What mattered most to Ali was the impact he made on others.