ONLY EXCEPTIONAL ATHLETES UNDERSTAND INTUITION
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Intuition is key to understanding optimal performance in sport. Reports from elite athletes support this supposition. For example, when Kawhi Leonard was interviewed after the 2019 NBA finals, Issah Thomas asked him about the strategies he used in the game. His reply was this, “You have to stay in the moment when you start thinking too much you don’t play well. It’s about reaching and reading and using my instinct to play basketball. I feel that’s how you get into the zone. That’s how you can hit ten shots in a row or your team does” (14th June 2019). Additionally, when Wayne Gretzky the world’s greatest hockey player was asked about the secret to his success, his reply was, “I don’t know; I just go to where the puck is going to be” (Berliner, 1994).
In a private conversation with Gabriel Batastuta, Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer told me this. “When coaches give me instructions on how to play, I cannot score goals because the information they provide me stops me from reacting quickly enough to get rid of the defenders. I score goals when I use memories of how I play as a child. As a child I would not think about strategies or tactics, I would just run into spaces based on my intuition and gut feelings. I just knew exactly where I should run when I followed my feelings, I would then score for fun because I would always find myself a step ahead of the defenders”.
Based upon anecdotal evidence, it is reasonable to assume the intellect of an athlete can be understood by appreciating its dependence upon the intuitional wisdom of the inner self.