Friday, November 07, 2014

LeBron James and the Flow State

During the 2011 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks, I wrote a blogpost about LeBron James suggesting that he was thinking too much:

Peak Performance: The Blog: LeBron Is Not Shrinking From the Stage, He's Think...

Bless his heart, he is doing it again with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  LeBron may be too smart for his own and the team's good. As he works to help build a winning team and a climate of success in his return to Cleveland,  he may be back to thinking too much about his role, his teammates, how to facilitate, how to fit it. Of course those issues are important, but that is the coaches' job.

Right now, LeBron is still the best individual basketball player in the world.  He is best and the team works best when LeBron lets himself be LeBron. He works very hard at his craft.  He is at his best when he lets his extreme mental and physical preparation to what it does best:  let his talent and muscle memory take over during games.  It is his teammates responsibility to also do what they do best to act and react to his lead.

Yes, it will take time to make it all fit fluidly.  This is a different team than the Miami Heat.  Their point guard, Kyrie Irving, is a young, immature, shoot first, point guard.  The team is used to losing. The team will be better in March and April than it is now.

Yes, LeBron is a thoughtful, mature, generous, gracious teammate who want to be patient with his young team.  He is also a force of nature, will, intelligence, preparation and talent.  Only he can unleash that combination and bring himself to that point where purpose and preparation equal peak performance.

At this point in his career, with this team, his most valuable leadership trait is his example as a player. He may make a very good coach in the future, but now, in Cleveland, he must lead by example. He must be willing to create that "flow state" into which all of his teammates can enter. That is what the city of Cleveland wished for. They are waiting. We all are waiting.

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