The Importance Personal Development in Professional Sports

Virtually every sports figure that transcended the competition and rose to great levels of sports success has consciously applied the concepts of personal development into their sporting life. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Gary Player have all credited higher thought to their success.

Eldrick “Tiger” Woods

American sports icon and professional golfer
(born December 30, 1975 – )

Tiger Woods during his greatest years was known for his amazing ability to concentrate and visualize. Tiger used these cerebral assets to create intimidation among his competitors. Intimidation and confidence is the key to his amazing success. His competitors knew when they saw the look in his eyes and felt the energy emanating from his body that he was in a place very few humans are able to visit.

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This place Tiger Woods is able to visit has allowed him to be the most financially successful sports figure in history amassing a fortune in excess of $500,000,000. Although Tiger Woods found such success earlier in his career, in 2009 and 2010 he met very difficult and well documented personal times. There is no need to recount them here but he credits the beginning of his comeback process solely to reconnecting with the concepts of personal development.

Michael Jordan

American sports celebrity and basketball player
(born February 17, 1963 – )

Michael Jordan as well as other great athletes, who perform in a fast paced game, have reported that they periodically go into a place called “the zone”. The zone is certainly a place in the mind where a person reaches such levels of will, persistence and concentration that they can be simultaneously, keenly aware of their environment, but completely unaffected by it. You will hear these athletes claim that they didn’t hear the crowd roaring and in certain circumstances they even lost time when they were in “the zone”.

Gary Player

Pro Goler and South African Personal Development Expert
( November 1, 1935 – )

Gary Player is a professional golfer who exemplifies personal development. He credits the fact that he treats his mind and his body as a temple to his over 160 professional tournament wins worldwide. Player has been a champion of personal development his entire life. Dr. Bob Rotella a sports psychologist who has worked with the most successful athletes and business people around the world writes: “He (Player) has maintained an infectiously positive and enthusiastic attitude throughout his life, and managed to combine a great marriage and family with succeeding in golf and business!”

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Player’s 2010 book “Don’t Choke” dedicates itself to the fact that the mind is the most brutal enemy in golf and in life. The only way to be a great golfer is to learn how to master the mind. The book also describes the concept of definiteness of purpose and plan which is the very foundation of personal development. These are just a few examples of how the most successful athletes had to learn to first master their mind in order to master their sport.

Robert Tyre Jones Jr.

Amateur golfer and Lawyer
( March 17, 1902 – December 18, 1971 )

Bobby Jones a great golfer in the early 1900’s was a definite case of an individual who needed to find personal development but already had incredible athletic development. Bobby was known for having a very hot temper. While playing in a tournament early in his career he was so heated after a poor shot near a fairway bunker, that he threw his golf club into the crowd. The club hit a young girl and injured her. From that day forward he decided that he would no longer reward himself with the great game of golf until he became a better person.

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He eventually overcame his temper and to this day is considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time. The interesting part of the Jones’ story is that he never turned professional and as noteworthy as he is he retired at the age of 29. Jones won the Grand Slam of Golf in 1930 an accomplishment no other golfer has yet to match. Jones also founded the Augusta National Golf Club a hallowed piece of golf history in Augusta, Georgia. Jones would play golf at the beautiful course and he described that it was one of the only places he could find true mental peace and freedom.

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