For The Record

Issue 15 2015

EN / FR

Follow American basketball player Maya Moore and Serbian shooter Ivana Maksimović as they prepare for Rio 2016.

“The key to being a good basketball player – outside of your physical height or natural talent – rests in your mental toughness and how well you can master the fundamentals of the game.”
Maya Moore

“I was so focused and it was almost like I was in a trance. It was perfect; I just concentrated on what I had to do, focused on my technique, and my self-confidence helped me make it to the final.”
Ivana Maksimović

MAYA MOORE

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I was about seven years old when I started playing organised basketball. I loved sports in general, but basketball was my favourite because it fitted well with my personality; you’re constantly moving, so I really enjoyed the Game.

I’m always trying to improve as a player. With my on-the-court training, I’m always trying to be a better defender or working on being more efficient with the basketball in my hands. I try to focus on those things and be creative with different drills with the ball.

I love music. I don’t get a chance to play the drums that often, but that is one instrument that I know how to play. I’m always singing everywhere I go, whether it’s in the locker room or walking through the grocery store. Over the last couple of seasons, I’ve also tried to learn how to cook, and become more efficient with my nutrition, making sure that I’m putting better, more nutritious food in my body. I’ve tried to increase my green intake, eating more plant-based proteins as opposed to animal-based proteins, and I’ve cut out refined sugar and dairy products. It makes me feel better and lighter. I think I recover faster and I’m quicker on my feet.

The key to being a good basketball player – outside of your physical height or natural talent – rests in your mental toughness and how well you can master the fundamentals of the game. Being able to move on from mistakes and being able to adjust to different styles during the game are important too.

Winning an Olympic gold medal definitely adds a level of respect from people for what you do. Knowing that you are an Olympic champion comes with an understanding of the work, dedication and sacrifice that you’ve put in and the character that you have to compete and win at the highest level. It makes me incredibly humble to have that rare opportunity to not only be a professional athlete, but to be an Olympic gold medalist too.

Rio 2016 still seems pretty far away, but it’s always in the back of our minds and we really want to continue the incredible legacy of USA basketball. When we’re not together as a national team, we’re still preparing ourselves for when we represent our country.

IVANA MAKSIMOVIĆ

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I started shooting when I was 12 years old. Both my parents were shooters, so it was natural for me to try the sport as well.

I’m the complete opposite of someone who would ordinarily be suited to shooting, however, as I’m more interested in running and jumping around, rather than being composed and concentrating and focusing so hard on one thing. It was quite hard for me to get used to what shooting entailed; I had to relax, take a deep breath and think about what I was doing, rather than bouncing around all the time.

When you turn up for your first training session, a coach can tell if you’re suited to shooting or not. You have to have good hand-eye coordination. Coaches will give you 10 or 20 shots, and when you start hitting the same area they can see if you have the necessary ability. But everything is about practice and whether you’re willing to work hard to be the best.

When I wake up on the day of a competition, I have a light breakfast and then I spend an hour or so listening to music and enjoying some quiet time. I also read my shooting diary, where I keep track of my good and bad training sessions so I know what I need to work on. That also helps me visualise what I want to do in the competition.

When the competition begins and your heart starts beating and you start to sweat, you can lose yourself. But if you have a vision in your head of what you want to do, you don’t think about those things – you just focus on your vision and it’s easier.

London 2012 was my best competition yet. I arrived ready for the Games and ready to give my best. When I arrived at the shooting range for the 50m rifle 3 positions, it felt like I was turning up for practice. I was so focused and it was almost like I was in a trance. It was perfect; I just concentrated on what I had to do, focused on my technique, and my self-confidence helped me make it to the final. In the final, I was a little more nervous, but I was still being carried along by my emotions and I could see myself on the podium.

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