Human Limits

Exploring performance and health with Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Photo of Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Relax and Win – 2

Yesterday I wrote about how elite athletes have an ability to focus and relax while at the same time putting forth great effort.  In skill sports like golf or hitting a baseball this is a version of Yogi Berra’s classic quote “how can you hit and think at the same time?”

This concept was stated more elegantly a couple of days ago in the NYT by the great Ichiro Suzuki about his first at-bat (he got a hit) at Yankee stadium after being traded to the Yankees.  “My 11 1/2 years here is a long time and I was thinking what I would feel like in my first at-bat, I really didn’t think anything. Nothing came to me. It was just a wonderful day to experience that.”

In sports associated with fatigue no one is better than Michael Phelps at keeping his rhythm and form at the end of a race.  There is an incredible video of Phelps swimming freestyle that shows just how skilled he is.

Terry Laughlin, the Total Immersion swimming guru, has a number of ideas that can help us all learn to do what Ichiro and Phelps do so well.   There is also a great interview by Amby Burfoot of Kim Conley who ran a perfect race to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 5k.  Her story exemplifies the Relax and Win approach.

Leave a Reply