Athletic Talent vs. Hard Work – What’s More Important for Sport Performance Success?
What’s more important when it comes to sports performance and success – to have an athlete with tons of raw talent, or an athlete with average skills but an insatiable yearning to be the best? At every level of sports we see both if we look close enough – most teams have at least one athletically gifted player, and inevitably have at least one player with average skills but tons of “heart.” So, what player would you rather have on your team?
Effort & success
Before answering that question, I would like to bring up the even broader sport psychology question pertaining to the degree of athletic success that comes from sheer natural talent versus hard work and mental toughness? Ironically, this same question can be posed with academics as well – to what extent do “A” students get the grades due to genetics versus putting in the work? In both cases, people often make the fundamental attribution error where we overvalue dispositional (or genetic) traits while minimizing situational factors (the circumstances around the person/event). The reality is that most successful people – be it athletes or students – achieve their success more from hard work than they do their natural talent.
Of course, having good genes is never a bad thing in life, but what you do with your natural talents is the bigger question. In best-case scenarios, people use their natural abilities as a foundation for future success, and then put in the hard work in order to reach their full potential.When it comes to sport philosophy, at the end of the day the athlete (or student) who is high in the “x” factors (i.e. confidence, motivation, resiliency, etc.) may just be the better long-term pick when deciding between the naturally gifted athlete versus the hard working athlete.