Very few individuals reach the summit in their own professional sport. It takes a certain kind of someone, with a unique mindset.
Not many have achieved anything close to that of Stephen Hendry.
The Scotsman is widely regarded as one of the best snooker players there has been.
Winning the World Championship in 1990 at the tender age of just 21, which is yet to be beaten, set him on the path for continued future glory.
Over a 27-year career, in which he topped the world rankings for eight of them, the ‘King of the Crucible’ carried on his relentless assault for silverware. Seven world titles, six Masters titles and five UK Championships are part of an honours list that just goes on and on.
So just how did he achieve it? Unbelievable talent is one thing, but having the mental strength to keep going and remaining on top of your game is another.
Hendry was a recent guest on The High Performance Podcast, as Jake Humphrey attempted to pick his brain and figure out just how he was able to maintain his level of performance and stay at the top for as long as he did.
During the interview, Jake quizzes Hendry on his three non-negotiable behaviours. The bare minimums he has to implement in order to be successful.
First up; Selfishness.
“I’ve been told it enough,” jokes Hendry. The first guest to ever give that as an answer, snooker is an individual sport after all, you need to focus only on yourself and your own performance. He later admits that ‘greed’ is the golden rule for living a high performance life.
Next up, Hendry lists determination as one of key behaviours.
“Work,” he gives as his biggest piece of advice. “People talk about talent being enough; talent’s not enough.”
And lastly? Self-criticism.
Due to return to the sport after eight years retired, Hendry believes that he isn’t currently able to win another World Championship after a lack of game time.
“My game is not where I need it to be,” he admits honestly.
Hendry continued: “I think it’s purely about technique at the moment. It’s getting that technique back. If that comes back then I’ll possibly look at other ways to make myself even stronger.”
It’s a fascinating insight from Hendry. For someone who has won what he has, it takes a lot to step back and admit things aren’t working at the moment and trying to pinpoint ways to make himself better.
You can bet that once he masters his form again, his sheer desire and the ‘love of winning’ he claims to have will still be there when he returns to the table.
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