In the MJ documentary that recently came out, somebody who knew him talks about how he was always 'in the moment' when playing (and possibly generally, although he bore grudges for years if not decades) ? so that he never worried about missing a shot, which fucks up most players.
Perhaps that sort of mindset can be trained and cultivated.
Savants don't seem to be trained to think as they do, it's innate and irrepressible.
The real secret behind top athletes' genius, then, may be as esoteric and obvious and dull and profound as silence itself. The real, many-veiled answer to the question of just what goes through a great player's mind as he stands at the center of a hostile crowd-noise and lines up the free-throw that will decide the game might well be: nothing at all...
Tracy Austin's actual history can be so compelling and important and her verbal account of that history not even alive. It may also, in starting to address the differences in communicability between thinking and doing and between doing and being, yield the key to why top athletes' autobiographies are at once so seductive and so disappointing for us readers. As is so often SOP with the truth, there's a cruel paradox involved. It may well be that we spectators, who are not divinely gifted as athletes, are the only ones able truly to see, articulate, and animate the experience of the gift we are denied. And that those who receive and act out the gift of athletic genius must, perforce, be blind and dumb about it -- and not because blindness and dumbness are the price of the gift, but because they are its essence.