What Separates the Good From the Great?
In addition to good genetics, there are other physical and mental attributes that can be trained to make the difference. The following list of commonalities found in the great athletes of all levels are listed below:
• leadership skills
• a vast understanding of their sport (both innate and learned)
• an intense work ethic
• a killer instinct
• exceptional read-and-react skills for anticipating their opponent( s)
• standing strength that seems to exceed their weight room strength
• phenomenal speed
• coordinated agility
• a fluid body capable of advanced skill execution
• emotional stability
• mental toughness
• a positive attitude
• realistic goals
• a competitive nature
Many of these seem cliché but if you give each some thought you will realize that they can all be improved through training of some sort. Take the six that have been printed in BOLD, each one of these traits can be developed. Challenge yourself to make a difference in these areas and you will become a better athlete.
• coachability – Take the task of listening to another level, by listening to learn what is being taught and use the instruction.
• an intense work ethic – Some people just seem to have this, but others can conquer this with mental toughness and knowing that someone is working harder than you are….and it might be your next opponent. Practice with the goal of increasing your game play level and competitiveness.
• exceptional read-and-react skills for anticipating their opponent( s) – This may be one of the most important traits in any contest as well as the most underused in the youth programs today. Instead of relying on plays and schemes to get results, running them like robots, use opponents to your advantage to create results by being unpredictable.
• passion – If you have heart you can do anything. The only trick with this one is being able to use it positively and not letting out too much steam for the wrong reasons.
• mental toughness – Train yourself to know that if you WANT something, you will have to sacrifice. Only YOU can control your actions and emotions and how you choose to use them in the most productive way.
• a positive attitude – Don’t criticize your teammates, coaches, fans, refs, or yourself. It doesn’t help and only spreads like illness. There is not much worse than being disrespected so don’t do it. See things for how they can be after you achieve your goals and make the utmost attempt to be positive and respectful which in turn will develop a leader.