E is for Exceptional
E is for Exceptional. Going back to the dictionary on this one, exceptional means "uncommon" or "unusually good." In other words, it means something that is going to resonate when you see it or experience it. Exceptional isn't easily accessed or attained. Steak, as an example, is rarely exceptional. Outback has some good steak. I could probably eat there every week. Exceptional though? Me thinks not. Movies? There are a lot of good ones, a lot of bad, but rarely is there an exceptional movie. We're talking Godfather, mind-blowing greatness here. Athletically, exceptional is just as rare. An athlete getting a lot of buzz over the last couple of years, with good reason, is Steph Curry. Is Curry uncommon? Absolutely and in every sense of the word. He is not a physical freak, was largely unrecruited out of Charlotte Christian High School, and somehow has become arguably the best player in the NBA. Is he unusually good? Without question. His metrics are off the charts, but the beauty and greatness in his game is equally visible to the casual observer as well. He is exceptional.
How does one become exceptional then? To be "unusually good" likely means a willingness to prepare that is "uncommon." Curry's work ethic is off-the-charts. A simple Google search of "Steph Curry work ethic" yields 227,000 results and an outstanding video. Another word that comes to mind with Curry is discipline. Uncommon discipline to prepare and work his butt off has allowed him to be exceptional. While I will leave it up to you to decide for yourself what is God-given and what is not, it seems clear Steph Curry's unfathomable work ethic has allowed himself to maximize any physical gifts he was born with. While the examples of great NBA players who are physical-freaks are much easier to think of, again Curry is exceptional.
Who isn't exceptional? The overwhelming majority of the population in and out of sports. I bring this up because I see a lot of coaches get frustrated because of having the expectations for all of their athletes to be exceptional at levels where that is just not realistic. Why aren't the cages packed every single day after practice? Why doesn't everyone invest the consistent time necessary to really benefit from the mental side? They aren't exceptional. That is why. While I have had the great privilege to coach several players who I would call exceptional in one form another, one player's work ethic was what I would truly take to the bank as the very definition of the word. Grayson Greiner, currently a farmhand with the Detroit Tigers, had a work ethic unlike any player I have ever been around in any capacity. The dude worked himself into being a monster. He committed to the University of South Carolina very early in high school but was the epitome of what coaches talk about with not being satisfied with just a commitment. His typical day started with a 5:30 AM lift at Gold's and about an hour of hitting before school started. Grayson then took AP classes (a semester's worth of college in all), did whatever we had for high school practice (common), and then proceeded to hit for another couple of hours afterwards (total of 150-200 swings DAILY). Of course there were times he probably would have rather been doing what common HS kids were doing, but he wanted to be uncommon more. As a result, he was and still is. Grayson started at the University of South Carolina for three years, played for Team USA, was drafted in the 3rd round, and played for the high-A Tiger affiliate this year. While I refuse to make any predictions about his future, I will, without hesitation, say Grayson is an exceptional human being who will be uncommonly successful. The question is, "Will you be?"
What would your ABC's of Sport Psyc E be? I'd love to hear it.
The E is for Exceptional Song of the Day is a Grammy performance from an Exceptional singer: Adele- Rolling in the Deep (Hello is way too slow for a song of the day)