What's your game plan?
James Harden has plenty of character, creativity and confidence. The 27-year-old has honed these three traits on and off the court from his high school in California, through college in Arizona and now with the Houston Rockets in Texas. Harden’s simple approach to succeeding on the court is that he does his homework on the opposition, knows his role in every game and sticks to the script. This gives him space to creatively ‘stir the pot’ but also the discipline to put his head down, remain focused and work hard to enable legendary things to happen.
This is James Harden’s game plan.
You are one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. What mental strengths do you have to have to play such a position?
Every night during each game, I always get the opposing team’s best defender. Therefore my mindset is to be always ready to attack at all times. If I have that mindset at all times then great things will happen.Not only for myself but for my peers.
This is something you have to develop. It goes with confidence and putting the work in. You put the work in and then that confidence builds up and you start to do things you really didn’t know you can do.
In middle school and high school I started to be in the gym more and more and I started to fall in love with it. I wanted to do it more and I figured out that you had to work extremely hard to be good at it.
Some players are God gifted, bigger and stronger but they don’t necessarily want to work hard and they fade away but if you have that motivation and that work ethic then legendary things happen.
Do you have a pre-match routine that you try not to break to get you in a focused zone?
It’s pretty simple. The morning before the match, I work out, put shots up, take a nap, get off my feet a little bit and then eat and pray.
What’s the best piece of coaching advice you’ve ever received?
Control what you can control. Sometimes I get a little out of hand but for the most part, whatever is in front of me, whatever I’m facing, I try to deal with it only with control and I try not to get too carried away.
Does the noise and excitement give your performance a creative boost or do you try to block it out at key moments in the game?
I try to block it out unless something crazy happens where team mates are hyped or where a slam dunk excites the crowd that gives us that extra motivation, that extra boost. But for the most part I try to keep it even keeled throughout the game because there are going to be some bad times and some good times…whether it’s we are down by 10 and to go on a run to catch up or we are up by 10 to push the lead higher.
You’ve risen to the very top of your game. What advice would you give someone who is starting out in sport or business to make it to the top?
Figure out what needs to be done and what your position is.
Work hard. Understand the business model on the court: learn the fundamentals, learn the things that need to be done and just attack it. Know what the task at hand is.