Pre-game routines

The Golden State Warriors started off their NBA season with a 24 game winning streak. Their point guard Stephen Curry, who was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2015, played an important role in making the streak happen.

Here’s a recent tweet from the NBA showing Stephen’s pre-game preparation.

My three key takeaways from the piece are:

  1. Routine: Stephen follows the same pre-game preparation routine before each game. Practice is the time to try out new things. You’re not going to learn anything new right before an important contest. Right before game time, it’s better to focus on being comfortable. Following a familiar routine helps you achieve this.
  2. Adjusting to your opponent: Stephen is right-handed, but the first shots he takes are left-handed hooks, runners, and jump shots. As a point guard, Stephen is shorter than most players on the court, so being able to use both his hands as offensive weapons makes it much more difficult for the opposing team’s taller players to defend him.
  3. Setting an extreme benchmark: Stephen takes three point shots well beyond the three point arc during his pre-game warmup. You don’t get more than three points for these shots, so it would seem to make more sense to shoot from the three point arc rather than several feet behind it. But shooting from a further distance lets Stephen’s mind adjust his expectations to this longer distance. This way, the shots that he takes from the three point arc during the game seem relatively easy compared to his pre-game benchmark.