Successful Athletes Do These
The title of this article may only be half accurate. When I imply that youth may be able to learn from the most successful athletes, it has a qualifier. I recall one of the most successful athletes ever, not sure who anymore, answered a question of how a young player gets to the top. The reply was something like, “If you have to ask, forget about it, they have no chance.” The point is that successful athletes usually have that something special inside of them, it is not a learned trait. But, athletes fall in love with a sport at different times in their lives. That is when they are willing to put in that extra to become top notch. So, that something special may be inside just waiting to come out. The coach’s job is to help players fall in love with the sport, which leads to athletes reaching that potential.
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These are things that separate the best from the average.
The leading athletes:
- Enjoy practice – Of course, when it comes to working hard, this can be a touchy area because some take it too far. By some, I mean coaches and parents pushing players beyond what is healthy for young athletes. That said, there is no way to the top without outworking others. Successful athletes only became that way because they enjoy the hard work of practice and doing it when others are not.
- Practice at game speed. Not only do the best players embrace practice, they perform as if in games. Their fearless game attitude comes from having done it at game-speed many times before.
- Have a routine. Having a consistent schedule develops the necessary discipline, relaxation and readiness. Establishing a comfortable process is usually a work in progress, but necessary for preparation.
- Have a game face. Successful athletes may look like they are having fun, but they have a hidden side that relishes the competition and are out to win.
- Embrace challenges – The best look forward to being the one up for the tightest of game spots.
- Have abnormal focus skills. No matter what happened before or the possible consequences, the peak players have a quiet mind before each play. Their minds have a way of slowing things down as the game speeds up for others. The ability to keep the mind in the zone may be the greatest asset of the successful athlete.
- Trust – Elite athletes believe in what they do and trust that their methods prevail in the heat of the action.
- Learn from failure – Average players fall into the same ruts time and again. The best understand that failure is part of sports, but they do not let disappointments defeat them for long. The top athletes fall into ruts much less often. They learn from failures quicker than most by making adjustments on the fly.
- They know their body – The top players have a better feel of what they are capable of in games. Players must know when to back off and not overwork, too.
- Continually ask two questions – where do I need to improve and how do I go about that. They are never completely satisfied.
At the end of the day, not every athlete wants to be the best and apply to the fullest. That decision is OK.