Sports and Entertainment
Continuous Mastery: How Stephen Curry Never Settles
The Chase Mastery Service campaign explores how the greatest masters in different fields continue to refine their work to reach their fullest potential.
Sports analysts and basketball fans may say that Stephen Curry is a rare breed of athlete. Even that may be under-selling just how good he is; the word breed implies that he belongs to at least a small comparable group. As far as three-point shooters in the game, the pace that he's set in his young career has simply never been seen before. He's left many wondering, how is he doing it? According to Stephen, the payoff on the court is set by an uncanny level of work and perseverance that is dedicated off of the court.
He enters every season with a strategy for improving on his previous efforts. His training program is ever-changing and constantly innovating. "My training regimen has definitely developed over time and it reflects how I play on the court," he said. "I like to have that creativity, that spontaneity, it kind of just pushes me to new levels."
Curry seems to do everything possible to make sure that he's never coasting and always setting his own bars higher. "Once you get to a certain level, all that hard work that you put in resets itself," Curry stated. "You have to reestablish yourself. Just because you got to that certain level doesn't mean you made it. You have to work even harder to be successful."
So what are the results of his continuously improving mastery? Many would assume that he reached his fullest potential by the end of the 2014-2015 season, setting the single-season three-point record, hitting 286 from beyond the arc. Stephen could've coasted and basked in the moment of being the NBA MVP for the first time in his career while leading his team to their fourth NBA title. His work could've spoken for itself – but that's just not how this master operates.
"You have to really just push yourself to understand why you're doing it because you want to be great, you want to be more successful on the court," he said. "I try to find any way that I can to build an edge and to build a joy into what I do, into my craft and that's what it's all about," he added. If his success is a measure of his love for the game, Stephen should be pleased with his progress this season, ending the regular season, crushing last year's three-point record with over 400 threes.
His plan to continue to push his limits in an effort to elevate his game is achieved in both physical and mental conditioning. "It's confidence, it's practice, it's about just pushing yourself to new limits," he said. "If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I could break the 3-point record over and over, I would've said that's something I'm working for."
The possibilities of what he's capable of are simply astounding. Consider this - Curry is currently 19th on the three-point leader list with close to 1,600 (source: basketball-reference.com). Barring injury, he can jump to about 8th, or possibly as high as 5th, next year, and 3rd the year after that. It's remarkable, especially when considering that every player ahead of Curry on the list played at least 11 seasons, most of them 15-18 seasons. At his current pace, Curry could take over the lead in his 10th season.
"It's all about finding a different way to improve, and I'll mix up and do some new age drills and fun stuff that keeps the joy of what I do, I love practicing and getting better," he said. Much of that practice often involves three-point shooting.
His joy shows on and off the court, in a way only possible when watching the work of a master craftsman. Set with the task of reestablishing himself this year, Curry put in the work. Once again, he enters the NBA Playoffs looking for the ultimate pay off.
Danielle Elliot is a freelance journalist based in New York. She has written features for National Geographic, The Atlantic, Grantland, Vice Sports, Yahoo Sports, and other outlets. She has produced for NBC, Fox Sports, and others.