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Stephen Curry’s Intrinsic Motivation

The best players work the hardest. Often, we assume that means that a father, coach or trainer pushes the athlete. However, the best athletes are intrinsically motivated. They train or practice because they want to

work out, not because someone forces them.

“It wasn’t like I always wanted to be a pro basketball player,” Stephen Curry says. “I had to make that decision. Dad always told us that whatever we wanted to do, he’d support us. He wasn’t ever going to push us to the gym; sure, he’d go with us, but it’s not like he’d wake us up and force us to go. That helped me a lot, because my work ethic has always been my own and not someone else forcing it on me.

Curry has had that type of work ethic from a young age, as his high school coach explains:

During Curry’s junior season, [Charlotte Christian head coach Shonn Brown told the players that if they attended every mandatory practice, they’d receive a prize. Stephen made every practice except for one. “He came to me and said, ‘Coach, we missed one today, it was my fault, can we come early tomorrow and make it up?'” Brown remembers. “I said, ‘Absolutely;’ he and Seth came the next day at 6 a.m. and doubled their workouts … that just showed how, off the court, he’s very bright, very respectful and respected, which is proof that he was reared very well from a parenting standpoint.”

It also shows his worth ethic, to wake up at 6 A.M. and do a double workout, his self-responsibility (not blaming someone or something else) and his competitiveness, as he did not want to miss out on the prize. As his dad, former NBA player Dell Curry, says:

“Stephen is driven by wanting to be good,” Dell says.

As for his training, he trains his decision-making skills, not just his ball handling skills, unlike many wanna-be point guards:

Curry says he tries to emulate the play of Steve Nash and has become close with Chris Paul…

Curry says his best learning strategy isn’t necessarily mimicking others; instead, he watches video of himself, pausing the tape before each play, thinking about his best passing and shooting options, then pressing play to see if he made the right choice.

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