The Professional Incubator
As he grew physically, psychologically and emotionally in the highly competitive sports world, Michael Jordan changed. He admitted in 1996 that playoff wars against the rough-and-tumble Detroit Pistons, who beat the Bulls for two championships in 1988-90, turned him into a killer. The Pistons taught me a hard lesson. They changed the whole game of winning. It was, go to all extents to win . Let’s be downright dirty and win. I didn’t want to be perceived that way, the sort of individual you hate; yet I wanted to have the same sort of success, I wanted those competitive drives.
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I wanted to succeed, if you could do it in a nice way. I learned from Detroit that in order to win you have to be willing to attack someone all-out on the court. After a bitter loss in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference finals, the Bulls’ third straight playoff defeat to Detroit, Jordan decided he had to do whatever it took. That night, he sat in the team bus and cried. explosive power exercises I was crying and steaming, he recalled. I was saying, ‘Hey, I’m out there busting my butt and nobody else is doing the same thing. These guys are kicking our butts, taking our heart, taking our pride.’ I made up my mind right then and there it would never happen again. That was the summer I first started lifting weights. If I was going to take some of this beating, I was also going to start dishing out some of it. I got tired of them dominating me physically. For five of the next seven seasons, Jordan and the Bulls won the championship.
If he was a late bloomer in the aggressive warrior mode, Jordan is not alone. Track stars Donovan Bailey, Michael Johnson, and others may have blossomed in their late teens or 20s. It’s naive to think that only childhood experiences have a dramatic impact on a person’s psyche and attitude, says Michael Rutter, MD, professor of child psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry (in the UK), considered one of the world’s leading academic child psychiatrists. Childhood experiences can be very influential to a person and last a lifetime, but so can experiences in adolescence and even adulthood be important to a person’s psychological and emotional development, he says. The experiences can be especially influential if they are intense, like those in competitive sports.
Sometimes an elite athlete will suddenly become aggressive or highly aroused in his teens or his 20s if latent childhood defense mechanisms suddenly kick in, says former psychoanalyst Maurice Vanderpol. explosive leg exercises Sometimes they’re dormant and kick in late, particularly in adolescence, when different parts of our character becomes functional. They may not even be evident in high school or even into our 20s and 30s.
Sport psychologist Bob Rotella says it can be an advantage for an athlete to be a late bloomer. Look at Jordan and [Larry] Bird, you see so many late bloomers like that, who got a hunger from the sports world early in their careers, then when their bodies filled in, they took off. Then they had the desire and the body.
The pressure to win becomes more intense when elite athletes are introduced to professional coaches, Robert Grant says. athletic workout for beginners Young adults are looking for role models to pattern their growth after. If they are aspiring athletes, their coaches have a tremendous amount of power and influence over their athletic careers and overall feelings of self-worth, confidence, and identity, especially if they have most of their self-esteem wrapped up in athletic success. (And, of course, an athlete’s ability to win becomes all-important in the quest for college athletic scholarships and professional contracts.)