The Way Athletes Think

I just found an article with Steve Nash interviewing Thierry Henry (probably my favorite basketball player and favorite footballer). We know Nash, but Henry is one of the best footballers in Europe, a standout for the French National Team and Arsenal in England (unless he transfers to Barcelona). It is a great interview with some insight into the way athletes think.

SN: Who are your favorite athletes to watch?

TH: You, Tony Parker and Allen Iverson. Allen, because he always plays from the heart. And Tony has the same view you have on the court — that soccer player’s view.

SN: I’m excited to hear you say that.

TH: You see more than what is in front of you. I hear people watch you and say, “What a pass!” And I’m like, “What do you mean?” Because for me, it was obvious.

SN: Remember when I came to France for your game against Ukraine? At one point, Zizou played it to you, and you played it back. You hit it hard, and it was heading between his knee and his waist. He let the ball hit him, but the way he rotated his hips, it stopped on the grass. Didn’t bounce, didn’t do anything. He was like a martial artist. I can’t even explain it.

TH: I know what you’re talking about. To receive the ball that way you need to relax the right part of your body.

SN: I get what you’re saying, but I still can’t believe he did it.

The vision and the relaxation. Oftentimes, players do not understand what separates the great from the good. To the naked eye, two players appear similar in size, skill and stature. However, one produces amazing results while the next does not. I mean, how does one explain Nash’s two MVP awards? But, there is so much more that most people miss, especially since we live in the age of TiVo and SportsCenter, where few people actually watch the ebbs and flows of the game.

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