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Stephen Curry led the Warriors to the NBA title with did-you-see-that ballhandling, quick-draw shooting, and strong leadership. But it all began with tireless practice. Take notes.
Standing 5'8" as a freshman in high school, Curry needed to change his shot to play varsity. “I had to make it quicker with a higher release,” he says. “It was a grueling summer.” He started in close, grooving his release, and didn’t leave the paint for two weeks. “It’s still a work in progress”—he really said that—“but with anything, if you stick with it and keep working at it, eventually you’ll figure it out.”
Make Things Harder
Curry played plenty of boyhood ball in his Grandpa Jack’s gravel driveway, the same place his father, 16-year NBA vet Dell Curry, also learned the game. “If you can dribble and control the ball off that gravel,” Curry says, “you’ll be all right on hardwood. Even now when I train, I add elements that make the game harder. So when I’m in that moment of competition in a real game, it should be easier.”
Do The Work
Curry puts up at least 100 shots before each game “to see the ball go in and build some confidence. There’s really no way to cheat the system,” he says. “You either put the work in and reap the benefits of what you’re doing, or you try to take shortcuts and think you’re going to be all right. But it doesn’t work that way. The guys who put in the most reps are usually the ones who are most successful.”
Find Your Mantra
No pregame tunes for Curry. “My line is ‘Lock in.’ That’s how I focus,” Curry says. “I say it to myself over and over. ‘Time to go: Lock in and get ready to play.’ It’s a mentality. Focus on what you need to do to lead your team. A hundred percent focus on the game.”