Woman Basketball Star teaches Poker Life Lesson

Poker Stars and Basketball Star
share Common Ground
Poker and basketball. What do these two games have in common?
When Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie powered the Los Angeles Sparks to another victory this past Tuesday, I went looking for one of my journal entries from last year that answers that exact question. You see, I don’t regularly follow other sports these days, just concentrate on poker and the occasional golf match when Tiger is playing.
However, during the 2008 Olympics, I surfed into the gold metal game of women’s basketball. USA and Australia were playing. I remember watching 6’4" Candace Parker at the free throw line. She was the new kid playing for USA, and the announcers kept talking about how she beat out five male competitors in high school to win a slam-dunk contest. My ears perked up, and I laid down the TV remote.
Parker’s setup for each shot was a masterpiece. It spoke to me. Fascinated, I was fixed on the screen, much like I am when I want to get a better look at a poker player during a televised final table. Man, I’m glad my husband insisted we buy that large screen plasma TV. It makes it so much easier to identify any tell-tale signs that will help me the next time I confront that player in a live poker tournament.
The way Candace Parker handled her actions at that free throw line is a life lesson that flows seamlessly from the court to the poker table. She was the perfect model of calmness, consistency, and preparation.
This is what I observed during that 2008 Olympic game. Each time Candace went to the free throw line and prepared for the shot, she did exactly the same thing. It was her personal ritual: She settled herself on the line. She bounced the basketball three times. She touched her left upper arm with her right fingertips…That tap got my attention and intrigued me…Then, she took one more bounce and shot. Repeatedly, you heard that familiar whoosh of a perfectly positioned ball as it flushed the net.
In 2004 while in high school, Candace showed us she could hang with the best when she won the dunking contest. She went on to set and break records in college ball for Tennessee, then, it was on to the pros in 2008 with the Los Angeles Sparks. There Parker rubs shoulders with possibly the best woman basketball player of all times, Lisa Leslie. Everyone expected Candace Parker would be good for women’s basketball, but who would ever expect she could also be good for your poker game?
Today, Candace Parker is a role model for how to excel at any skill and be a star… combine a repetitive, consistent setup with calm and centered focus. Anchor your success with a physical trigger.
Lesson: To star in your own game, find what works and repeat it. Use a physical anchor to cue consistent, desired actions. Try it at the poker table and for life. I bet it will work for you, too.
By the way, yes, at 6’5" I did play basketball in high school, and, yes, I was very good. More about that another day.

4 thoughts on “Woman Basketball Star teaches Poker Life Lesson”

  1. That’s a great idea! Physical anchors have always intrigued me, and I will put that on my list for a blog. For now, keep this in mind: physical anchoring comes in many forms with consistency as one of its keys.

  2. I love the idea of combining a repetitive, consistent setup with calm, centered focus. You are right. That is true for Poker or anything else you really want to excel at.

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