The 7 Elements Of Excellence

This special report is based on the work of Dr. Terry Orlick, Founder of the Zone of Excellence.

How do we achieve excellence in the game of basketball?

  • Coaches - What does it take to be successful in every aspect of the game?
  • Players - How can you improve your game and play with confidence and success?
  • Parents - What skills do you need to teach your child as they pursue excellence on the basketball court?

These are all great questions that will be thoroughly answered in this report.

Dr. Orlick's work is based on over 30 years of working with professional and Olympic athletes. The seven elements of excellence listed below are characteristics of these highly successful athletes.

To learn about the first training program in the world that dramatically improves basketball game-intelligence skills... please click here. Enjoy and best of luck!

Joe Waters

I would suggest that you PRINT this report! You will get much more benefit from STUDYING this report rather than trying to read it on your computer screen.

So...before you start to read, PRINT this report out on paper. You can then study the information, underline and circle the most important information, take notes, and even write down your steps of action.


"It's committed through the ups and downs. Committed through the good results and the bad results, when you're coming in 50th and it looks like there's never an end to the bad results. You still have to be committed and still focused and still trying to win every race. I think the day that you let your commitment go is the day you don't have a chance to win." ( Kerrin Lee Gartner -Olympic Champion -Alpine Skiing)

The first element of excellence is your COMMITMENT:

  • To excel
  • To be the best you can be
  • To do everything required to excel
  • To develop the mental, physical and technical links to excellence
  • To set clear personal goals and relentlessly pursue them
  • To persist in the face of obstacles
  • To give everything of yourself you can give.

Commitment is the first essential ingredient guiding the pursuit of excellence. To excel at anything you must have or develop an extremely high level of dedication, self-discipline, passion, joy or love for what you are doing. You must truly commit yourself to be the best you can be and continuously strive to make personal improvements and meaningful contributions.

Excellence requires an incredible commitment to persist through the ups and downs associated with becoming your best and maintaining your best performance.


"I was really confident. I knew I was good enough, that if I put everything together, I could win. But I wasn't really thinking that. I was thinking how I would put it all together." (Olympic Champion)

"The focus is so clear that you shut your thoughts off and you trust yourself and believe in yourself You've already prepared for years and years. All you do is go, it's very natural." (Kerrin Lee Gartner Olympic Champion – Alpine Skiing)

The second element of excellence is your BELIEF or CONFIDENCE:

  • In your own potential
  • In the meaningfulness of your pursuit
  • In your focus
  • In your capacity to achieve your goal(s)
  • In your preparation or readiness
  • In those with whom you work or play

Belief is the second essential ingredient in the pursuit of excellence. Excellence is guided by belief in your potential, your goal, the meaningfulness of your goal, and trust in your capacity to reach that goal. To excel, you must believe that you are investing in something worthwhile and that you have a good chance of making it happen.

Belief in yourself, your teammates, and your mission all enhance commitment. Your overall depth of confidence and commitment is strengthened when you believe in the people and/or organization with whom you are linked in pursuing your goal, and when you know these people value you, believe in you and are committed to your goals and development.

Full Focus

"Everybody basically has the same tools, within a certain leeway but there's only one individual that wins, the one with the most desire and best focus. Very small differences create a very large edge towards winning." (World Champion Athlete)

"Concentration is a thing you have to learn first and foremost... There are many things going through your head and you must see to it that these things bring you to one point and you leave the others." (Elite Classical Musician)

The third element of excellence centers around being FULLY FOCUSED:

  • For the duration of the performance
  • On the task at hand
  • In the moment
  • In the zone
  • On the performance
  • Totally connecting to learning, experiencing or performing
  • On auto pilot
  • Letting things unfold naturally.

Focusing is the single most important mental skill associated with performance excellence. Focusing refers to the ability to concentrate totally on what you are doing, seeing, reading, hearing, learning, feeling, observing or experiencing while you are engaged in the activity or performance. Focusing fully not only allows you to connect totally with what you are experiencing, but also frees you to perform without being disturbed by distracting thoughts.

Positive Images

"When you are parachuting, you have an emergency procedure to go through... depending on what kind of failure you have with your parachute. You've only got a few seconds to go through that matrix... I spent a great deal of time visualizing the scenarios and it happened to me. And it's incredible because you've got that matrix down flat, you just go through it. And by four hundred feet I had the problem solved and I didn't die. And so you get down on the ground and you go - - I won. You touched death and you won." (Astronaut)

The fourth element of excellence uses POSITIVE IMAGES to:

  • Dream big dreams
  • Go after your dreams
  • Follow a desired course of action
  • Pursue specific targets or goals
  • Prepare yourself to act and react in constructive ways
  • Feel the flawless execution of desired performance skills
  • Create positive feelings about yourself and your capacity
  • Make corrections
  • Remain positive
  • Enhance confidence

Positive imagery is useful for guiding your belief, focus, and performance, and for creating good feelings about yourself and your capacity. Through positive imagery you can pre-experience and re-experience feelings, sensations, skills or actions that are important for the successful execution of your task.

The world's best performers (e.g. athletes, surgeons, astronauts, and classical musicians) have highly developed imagery skills that they use daily. They draw upon these skills to: prepare themselves for high quality performances, recall and refine technical skills, make corrections, relax, experience themselves as successful and in control, regain control when struggling, set a positive frame of mind and create a high quality focus.

Mental Readiness

"I would give a very, very high priority to mental readiness, because it applies to your overall knowledge, experience, and overall preparation for this given event. It's everything. It's the confidence of knowing that you have done everything that can be done before you go in there, that you have prepared yourself as well as you possibly can, and that you know you can do it." (Elite Cardiac Surgeon)

The fifth element of excellence is your MENTAL READINESS to:

  • Create and take advantage of learning and performance opportunities
  • Develop essential mental, physical, and technical skills necessary to excel in your pursuit
  • Plan, practice and prepare effectively
  • perform to capacity (usually accomplished with a commitment to follow an effective pre-performance routine to enter your best mental "zone" for quality performance)
  • Follow a path that brings out the best in you
  • Relax yourself and your focus away from the performance zone

Mental readiness refers to a positive state you carry into learning and performance situations. It is dependent upon the other mental skills excellence. To have a realistic chance of excelling you must become highly proficient at mentally readying yourself to: learn essential mental, physical and technical skills, practice essential skills to perfection, and effectively perform those skills under competitive conditions.

Consistent high-level performers are great at following their own best path. They carry a positive perspective, respect what works best for them, focus fully and continue to look for ways to improve. This path becomes so natural for some great performers that they are able to follow it consistently without much conscious awareness.

Distraction Control

"The player that is not playing well is backing off shots, telling people in the gallery to move and they're hearing every noise on the golf course. Whereas the player who is playing well you could drop their bag at the top of their back swing and it wouldn't bother them." (Top Professional Golfer)

"If something goes wrong that is catastrophic, the important thing is not to allow people to start jumping around and going hysterical. You just have to stand quiet, be in complete control and keep totally focused on the area you're dealing with." (Elite Cardiac Surgeon)

"Every once in a while we'll miss a note... I try not to think of it. It's gone." (Elite Classical Musician)

The sixth element of excellence is CONTROLLING DISTRACTIONS in order to:

  • Maintain an effective focus
  • Regain an effective focus when distracted before, during or after a performance
  • Quickly re-enter "the zone" of high performance
  • Perform consistently at a high level
  • Stick with your own game plan
  • Get adequate rest
  • Stay on your own best path for personal excellence.

Distraction control refers to your ability to maintain or regain a positive, effective focus when faced with potential distractions, negative input, or setbacks. These distractions may be external, arising from your environment, or internal, arising from your own thinking or expectations. Maintaining and regaining a constructive focus is a critical part of performing to your capacity on a consistent basis, whether distractions occur before, during, between or after events.

Constructive Evaluation

"By analyzing my race, stroke for stroke, figuring out what I did wrong, I can put together a more perfect race. The idea is you try and recall exactly what happened in the race and gain from it. I'm always repeating the plan in practice, and working on certain points that I can identify as screw-ups in a previous race." (Larry Cain - Olympic Champion - Canoeing )

The seventh element of excellence is CONSTRUCTIVE EVALUATION of training and performance situations to:

  • Reflect upon what you did well
  • Reflect upon what you can refine or improve
  • Draw out important lessons from each experience/performance
  • Assess the role of your commitment, attitude, mental readiness, and focus in relation to your performance outcome
  • Target areas for improvement
  • Act upon the lessons learned.

Excellence requires that you develop an effective process for personal evaluation, and that you act upon the lessons drawn from these evaluations.

Constructive evaluation includes looking for the good things and targeting areas for improvement in yourself, your performance, your environment and your experiences. You can draw inspiration, confidence and joy from reflecting on positive experiences and personal highlights.

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