Saturday, May 30, 2009

Execution is the Key to the Lakers Return to the NBA Finals

"We had the effort and the execution to match. It took us a while to really get a feel for the team, just how to take advantage of the defense. We saw something how they were playing us and we executed extremely well."

--Kobe Bryant, discussing the importance of execution, following the Los Angeles Lakers' Western Conference finals series victory over a very talented and tough Denver Nuggets team in the 2009 playoffs.

The Lakers are playing in their second straight NBA Championship finals as a result of their victory. Bryant led the Lakers with 35 points and 10 assists.

Excerpts from

For more on Peak Performance, go to The Handbook of Peak Performance.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Cleveland Cavaliers Stay Alive in the 2009 NBA Playoffs

"I was attacking anyone in the way, no matter who it was. There's always a sense of urgency when you are on the brink of elimination."

--LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, following a 112 to 102 victory in a must-win game five against the Orlando Magic in the NBA playoffs.

James, in a well-rounded, versatile fashion, had 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.

"The mood is win or go home. It's simple at this point," James, the regular season MVP, said in his pre-game press conference. "I have a lot of faith in my teammates. Hopefully, they accept the challenge."

"Some star players just put their head down and attack the basket. They put blinders on. But he sees the whole floor, he's aware of what's going on out there, and he can pass over defenders. That's what makes him who he is."

--Ben Wallace, Cleveland Cavaliers' center, talking about LeBron James' vision on the court.

"His intensity and his passion are out of this world. We will follow him. When he gets it going, there is nothing you can do."

--Daniel Gibson, Cavaliers' guard, pointing out James' leadership.

"I don't care what the numbers are. I'll never waver from the trust I have in those guys."

--Mike Brown, Cleveland head coach, expressing his trust in the entire team.

The Cavaliers are still down three games to two to the Orlando Magic. They must continue to display teamwork, leadership, and the intensity they had in game 5 to force a game seven, win and advance to the NBA finals.

Excerpts from (May 29, 2009)

For more on peak performance, go to The Handbook of Peak Performance.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers: Pulling it Together at the Right Time

"We have to stay focused and poised and try to cut them up. Be cold-blooded, go out there and execute."

--Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, after a 103-94 victory Wednesday night, May, 28,2009 that gave them a 3 to 2 game lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.

"This Lakers group is really connected. They're driven and they're motivated to get to where we were last year to give us a chance to win."

--Phil Jackson, Lakers' head coach.

The Los Angeles Lakers, the top seed in the West, are one win away from a second consecutive trip to the NBA finals. It is no coincidence that their mental mindset is coming together as they move toward their goal of an NBA championship.

Their mindset is about being in the right competitive frame of mind. The Lakers appear focused on executing a game plan that fits the game situation. In game five, it required Kobe Bryant's flexibility in getting his teammates involved and playing the decoy role. To do so required the proper mindset and a focus on the ultimate vision: the championship and a commitment to teamwork.

All peak performance involves confidence, commitment, and alignment of behaviors with the selected vision or desired outcome. "Mindsetting" creates the inner conditions for success and innoculates against excessive stress and anxiety, the enemies of peak performance. Attention to one's mindset is necessary for peak performance. It helps deal with pressure, stress, unexpected situations and conditions. It provides a weapon against unwanted emotional states that can destroy our potential and capacity for achievement. It creates mental toughness, a necessary aid in dealing with fatigue, competition, and stress.

However, peak performance also requires execution. This step involves putting the game plan in place. If the game plan is good, then the execution should move forward flawlessly. This execution step requires the full buy-in, commitment and alignment of all the team members that are involved.

Mental mindset and execution are two crucial steps in the Peak Performance System.

In sports and business, the same peak performance principles apply.

Excerpts taken from (May 28, 2009)

For more information about Peak Performance, go to The Handbook of Peak Performance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Confidence Builder: LeBron James Hits a Game Winner for the Ages

“That’s a shot you’ll see for a long time. We’re confident. I know I am as an individual. I make sure our team is.”

--LeBron James, after winning Game 2 in the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic to prevent the Cleveland Cavaliers from going down 0-2 in the conference finals series.

“They are a good team. But we are the best team in basketball. I don’t feel that they’ve had to adjust to us one time in the series.”

Guarantee we’re going to win the series? Yeah, yeah. We are down 2-1. But there is nobody on this team and definitely not myself that says we are not going to win this series. Yeah, it is going to be tough. We know that. We get this game tomorrow, go home, still got home-court advantage."

--Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers' guard.

Despite the Game 2 heroics, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves down 2-1 in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

LeBron James Keeps the Cleveland Cavaliers In A Zone

"It's unexplainable, honestly. There's only a few guys in this league that can get into a zone like that, and I'm blessed to have the ability to be one of those guys.

"You just feel like you can make pretty much every shot you take."

--LeBron James, after scoring 47 point to help the Cleveland take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA playoff series.

James was 15 of 25 from the field and went 5 of 10 on 3-point shots, and made 12 of 16 free throws.

"He's not the MVP for nothing. He's the best player in the league. He knows when to push the gas. That's what he did."

--Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta Hawks' center.

Athletes refer to the state of being in the zone when everything comes together, when one does great things, and when mind and body are able to stretch to the limit to accomplish greatness. This state involves total immersion and focus, such that distractions and "noise" are absent. Often, at times of peak performance, athletes find themselves "in the zone." For basketball players the basket seems bigger and wider. They can't miss. For baseball players, they report being able to see the baseball bigger, more clearly and in great detail. Football players describe a feeling of being invincible with the ability to run all day through their opponents without being touched. In the zone, your confidence is high, worry is non-existent.

Flow is the term coined by University of Chicago Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, (1990) to refer to this psychological dimension described by thousands of individuals during his 25 years of researching this universal phenomenon. In sports, athletes often refer to this state as the "zone". Eastern philosophers experience similar meditative states when practicing Zen Buddhism.

During flow, consciousness becomes harmoniously ordered. According to Daniel Goleman (1995), author of Emotional Intelligence, the ability to enter a state of flow represents emotional intelligence at its best, because it is incompatible with emotional discord or strain. Flow is considered an autotelic, or intrinsically rewarding experience. Since it feels so good, this optimal experience becomes not just a means, but an end in itself.

People attain a state of flow and perform at their best when they are engaged in a task where the challenge is slightly above their ability. Too much challenge will produce anxiety, overload the psyche, and sabotage any chance of having a peak experience. On the other hand, too little challenge will inevitably lead to boredom. Flow occurs in the narrow zone between these two opposites.

For more on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, go to LeBron James, Peak Performance Case Study.

Friday, May 08, 2009

LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers Charge into the Playoffs

"We're just a really good team. We're really confident and we believe in each other.

"We're ready for anything. We don't go into a game saying, 'win by 20' or 'win by double digits.' We go into a game to execute and take one possession at a time and try to get better. If that causes us to win by 20 or causes us to win by two, we're ready for that challenge.''

--LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, after a 105-85 win over the Atlanta Hawks to take a 2-0 lead in the 2009 NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

Now a perfect 6-0 in the 2009 NBA postseason, the Cavaliers tied a league record by winning their sixth consecutive playoff game by double digits. The only other team to do it was the 2004 Indiana Pacers. Cleveland also matched the 1986 Los Angeles Lakers by winning three straight games by at least 20 points in a postseason.

After 6 games, James’ playoff averages are 31.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.

Excerpts from (May 8. 2009)

For more check out LeBron James: Peak Performance Case Study on

Monday, May 04, 2009

2009 NBA Playoffs: Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony Matures

"Foul trouble didn't bother him, it didn't freak him out, it didn't take him to a dark side that we had to worry about. He trusted the team, the team did great and he came out in the second half and was a leader for us.

"His maturity, his mental involvement now is team and not individual ... I don't know who's given him that wisdom. Is it Chauncey [Billups]? Is it a gold medal? Is it the coaching staff? I don't care, I think he's doing a fantastic job."

--George Karl, Denver Nuggets head coach, discussing the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony, an Olympic basketball gold medal winner in 2008, who is showing more emotional maturity.

Anthony he was in early foul trouble for what he considered questionable calls, in a opening, second round game win over the Dallas Mavericks. In the past, Anthony might have verbally attacked the referees, been thrown out, or pouted on the bench. Instead, 'Melo maintained his composure and scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, including a dunk off J.R. Smith's behind-the-back assist that drove the Denver crowd crazy.

Excerpts from and Associated Press (May 3, 2009)

For more about Peak Performance, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.