My youngest son is 9 years old, and huge into sports. He plays soccer and basketball, and is a great little player. I’m not just saying that because I’m a proud parent, he’s really good, better than his much older siblings and their friends. His older brother and sister are the first to admit this, and it’s great, as a father, to see the way they support their younger brother.

We all have special talents to unlock inside of us, our job is to figure out what this is in our lifetime.

What does all this have to do with Stephen Curry and the NBA?

His was a name that kept coming up in conversations with my youngest son, and I admittedly just didn’t pay it much attention. That is, until my son and I spent a weekend together in New York recently, and we watched the Brooklyn Nets play (Thanks for the great seats John Bush). As I sipped a Brooklyn Lager, my little guy was giving me the entire scoop on both teams, and the players, he was a walking, talking sports wiki.  His play announcement was better than most professional sports casters. Team, stats, coaching styles, player injury reports, and this guy named Curry.

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Photo: My incredible son, and walking sports wiki, and I at the Nets game a few weeks ago. 

I thought he was just another great NBA player until I did my research.  Then it hit me how great this guy really is, to the point he’s single-handedly re-defining the limits of what’s is possible in the sport of professional basketball.

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Curry shoots three pointers with the consistency of how most professional players make layups. His diversity of skill, 3-point range and accuracy are unparalleled.

What does all this have to do with being a SEAL sniper? Give me a minute, I’ll get you there…

In my latest bookThe Power of Thought: Core Principles of Overcoming Adversity and Achieving Success, I talk about the importance of self talk, and group talk. Because how we speak to each other and ourselves matter. It means something as a SEAL sniper, a professional sports player, as a parent, a teacher, and a coach.

Within the confines of these circles, we are in always having conversations of what is possible, and achievable. Sometimes these same conversations can build a mental steel cage that surrounds what’s really achievable.

I personally saw this when I was the sniper course manager, and we had a graduation rate that went from 70% to almost 100%. We changed teaching styles to a positive style over negative, and I started telling my instructors to tell their students that perfection was achievable, and it was the new standard. We made the course more difficult and had the graduation rate went up!

For the first time in my experience in the course, our sniper students started shooting perfect scores, because we changed the conversation of possibility. We, as coaches and teachers, changed the conversation around what was possible, and it became a reality to our students. Stephen Curry is doing this now for basketball; his ability is modeling what’s achievable for the future generation of players in the NBA.

This is a significant paradigm shift in how the game of basketball will be played in the future and also why I would have welcomed Curry and his mental toughness as a SEAL sniper student.  Because his mental game is already where it needs to be.

Thank you to my son for inspiring his dad to write this, and remember, we can learn a lot from the young and the old alike in life, if we allow it.

Featured image courtesy of CBS Sports