You may not be the most intelligent with multiple degrees to boast, but people call you smart because you have lots of common sense: you know your way around with things: you communicate well; your social skills are great and you have the ability to solve life problems.

People say you are shrewd. You possess the mental alertness to take quick practical decisions. You are the GO-TO  man: the kind- of- person who people trust to get the trickiest job done. They very well know you will somehow get the job finished. Guys, if you are one of the kind then- you definitely are street smart.

Street smartness is not restricted to daily life: it has its say in the Sports arena too. Every sport warrants certain skills and techniques that need to be executed in a certain way. More often that is the way your teacher teaches you to perform and these are the fundamentals or the basics over which you game are built.

When your style is confined to these basics- then you are an orthodox player. But, there are many who exhibit their own style which generally is unorthodox. The point here is, though these guys are unorthodox- they are effective and successful. The purists and the connoisseurs may scorn at their style but, that’s the way the Virender Sehwag’s and M.S.Dhoni’s play. Aren’t they successful?

I know of professional golfers whose backswing and downswing may not be according to the coaching manuals: but as the club come down to the point of contact it is in the right position and speed for the ball to fly and go the distance.

Indian wicketkeeper M.S Dhoni’s style of wicket keeping may not be prescribed to the budding wicketkeepers but his records speak for itself-he is effective behind the stumps isn’t he? These guys are smart: they know what it takes to succeed and they have- adapted well.

Brad Gilbert is a former U.S tennis player. He is an Olympic gold medal winner, a Davis cupper. A world number 4 in the year 1990.He wasn’t highly rated and didn’t exhibit great talent but he made his presence felt by troubling the best in business.

His secret lay in playing smartly studying each opponent, his style, strengths and weaknesses. He never played a stereo typed game against everyone. He was known for his pre-game mental preparation. When asked he said ` I don’t over power people, I don’t have flashy shots: I win because I have the ability to implement my game strategy successfully I maximise my strengths and minimise my weaknesses.

I want them to be hitting shots that they don’t like form positions they don’t want.’  [From the book: Winning ugly]. People didn’t admire his style: someone made a comment- `How in the hell does this guy win? He hits like a caveman how found a tennis racquet.’  Isn’t Brad Gilbert Street smart?

You can find Street Smart athletes everywhere. How to look for them and what are the attributes they carry?

Street smart athletes are those:-

  • Who know their strengths and weaknesses and know how to maximise the strengths.
  • Who know their game style: what works for them and what do not.
  • Who are self-aware and learn from the previous mistakes.
  • Who do not repeat the mistakes that gave them grave consequences.
  • Who are percentage players who play within themselves and don’t overdo things.
  • Who learn quickly, know to survive and adapt to the requirements of the of the modern day competitive world.
  • Who are alert, creative and quick at the out-of-the-box
  • Who are cunning and calculative and are quick to seize opportunities.
  • Who don’t overanalyse things and keep it simple. This keeps them in emotional control.
  • Who are not slaves to technique and know what it takes to be effective than perfect.
  • Who are hard workers but they don’t slog aimlessly: they know what it takes holistically to succeed and are not shy for efforts. In short: They work hard but smart.

Street smartness applies to coaches and captains too, they  are aware of how to communicate in different ways to be understood. They know how to be effective and get the work done smartly from their troops.

The legendary footballer PELE a genius by himself once said-` I don’t repeat the same mistake again.’ That’s a SMART footballer for you.


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