Athletes, Do You Want it as Bad as the Competition?
Throughout my career working with countless talented athletes I have witnessed a distinct separation between athletes who talk about wanting to be the best, versus others who literally turn every stone in life, committing to whatever means necessary (assuming they are safe and legal) in order to be the best. In these examples, it isn’t any surprise why the athletes who want it more reach their full potential, while athletes who give lip service fail to reach their full potential.
While it’s easy to rationalize and deny, athletes who maximize their talents steer clear of doing these things, and instead accept the reality of their efforts and results and work hard to make tomorrow better than today. In fact, successful athletes realize that being the best will include countless stressors, anxieties, failures, and even bad days (and bad calls by officials, too). Amazingly, their commitment to be the best allows them to quickly dismiss these distractions and obstacles, and instead channel all their focus and energy on being their best for the only thing that matters…..the next play.
If you’re and athlete and curious how you stack up when it comes to your level of commitment to being the best, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I bring my A-game attitude every day? Attitude is a choice, and every one of us can choose to be positive, upbeat, and optimistic every day. Bringing your A-game means walking into the locker room expecting success, and being sure to positively infect all team members with the same attitude and spirit.
- Am I fully prepared before each practice and game? Being fully prepared means getting enough rest and nutrition, studying your playbook until you know it inside-out, having uniform and equipment ready to go, and turning off all outside distractions while competing.
- Do I accept constructive criticism and instruction with an open mind? One fast way to limit your athletic success is to dismiss feedback you receive from coaches and others who know how to help your game. A better way to go is to see yourself as a blank slate, allowing experts who know more than you to offer advice relating to how you can best improve your game. You might not always use the advice you receive, but you should at least listen and give it a fair evaluation before dismissing the potential help.
- Am I open to ideas that can help my game? Similar to being open to constructive criticism, it’s also important to be open-minded to ideas that can help your game. Some examples of this might include mental toughness training, or better, more efficient ways to exercise. Athletes who are less committed often immediately dismiss ideas they think are a waste of time, rather than fairly evaluating them for their own training regime.
- Do I not fear failure, but instead use it as a teaching tool? Great athletes don’t fear failure, but instead realize that failure is a part of life and that what’s most important is to learn from every challenge. Are you realistic with your ideas around success and failure, and accept that being perfect in life simply isn’t a reality? Instead, strive for excellence, and learn from stress, adversity, frustration, and failure.
Are you doing everything you need to do in order to reach your full potential? Are you paying attention to all the seemingly small details (like getting enough rest), and open to receive constructive feedback about how you can get better? And finally, are you willing to accept the stress and adversity that are likely to accompany your journey to be the best? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you have placed yourself in the best possible position maximize your athletic abilities.