When Stirling Moss, in an out dated Lotus, trounced the Ferraris of Phil Hill and Richie Ginther at Monaco in 1962, the spectators remarked on how relaxed, how at ease, and perfectly comfortable he looked as he drove lap after exhausting lap on that tight and demanding circuit.
As a performance, it was a tour de force. In the eyes of many, it was Moss' Finest Hour.
DJ Carey, the Kilkenny hurler, and a breaker of many stalwart hearts, could waltz through a six-man defence group to billow opponents' nets with another of his blistering exhibitions of artistry.
A youthful Cassius Clay, in the 1960s, dazzled the entire world as he danced, jabbed, and bludgeoned his way to the throne of the Boxing World.
All accomplished men.
And they all had one thing in common: they practised, rehearsed, drilled, and internalised their basic movements.
They rehearsed their moves so that they not only got them right, but they couldn’t get them wrong.
I heard a story of Michael Jordan, the basketball player, who, in doing an ad for a soft drink company, had to consciously rehearse and practice missing a shot at the net before he could make the miss look natural. The story of the ad was that he then comforted himself with the soft drink.
In sport, business, in the arts, in any undertaking in which a man or woman intends to be at the top level, they practice the basics.
Ernest Hemingway, no slouch when it came to raising the rafters and having the craic, in his own particular way, was at his desk by five or 6 am every morning, applying himself to his craft, regardless of the monumental hangovers he was reputed to have suffered.
“To speak well in public“, said author Howard spring, “we need to think well in private.“
And there is the secret to an effortless performance; practice, practice, practice.
The same goes for exercise, reading, relaxing, meditating, using food well, conducting ourselves through our lives.
Practice, the age old open secret.