Well…the answer to the question posed at the end of Part I of this post (what are those relative aspects, qualities, ALL athletes/teams need in order to reach their potential and become the very best that they can be?) is certainly quite long. That is, at least, if I were to elaborate on all points relevant to that query. Actually, I think I just might be able to write a book on it (no pun intended).
Joking aside, I do believe that most all these relevant points could, in one way or another, fall under six basic groupings; categories that are all inherently interconnected and supportive of one another. Like a linked chain, any weakness in any one link weakens the chain as a whole, decreasing the chances of any athlete, or team, reaching their final destination of…becoming the very best that they can be—a True Champion.
So…what might these groupings or categories be you ask? They include:
Taking Personal Responsibility for One’s Success: Holding oneself accountable by taking ownership over whatever it is one wants to achieve is what taking personal responsibility for one’s success is all about. Ever heard of the cliché “the buck stops here,” well…better stated (for this category), one might phrase it, “the buck starts here,” meaning the bottom line falls with YOU!!!
Now I don’t want to diminish the importance of good or sound coaching or encouraging, supportive parents. We all know how important those two pieces are for the success of an athlete…of a person. They both can have a huge impact.
Although, taking it from a different perspective, one where circumstances are not as desirable as what is inferred above, we also all know that no matter how strong an individual is, there is always someone somewhere along the line that believes in and/or helps support, in some way, that successful athlete. No one ever makes it completely on their own…no one.
However, as supportive or non-supportive an environment is, there is no replacing the personal responsibility (ownership) an athlete must take if they truly want to be good at what they do. If the athlete is not willing to walk the path necessary to become the best they can be, everything else becomes irrelevant.
So if one ever wonders why things just don’t seem to work out the way they want, why bad luck consistently rears its ugly head, the first place to look for the answer to their problem should be in a mirror, for the solution they seek might just be staring right back at them.
Goals: As a former athlete, coach, teacher, and parent of athletes, I cannot stress enough the importance of goals. If one does not have goals, something they want to achieve, my next question would be “why are they even an athlete?” You see…goals give an athlete direction, they give a person direction. It is a point in the future where one wants to be.
Without goals, athletes, whole teams, tend to…well, go through the motions a lot. Deep practice, the kind where a profound focus is the norm, is foreign to them. Oh sure, they show up every day, may never miss a practice or a game, even enjoy what they are doing, the camaraderie and competition of it all.
But real inner accomplishment…the kind that years later one can look back on with great pride, the kind that builds a path toward success in many areas of life, outside the athletic arena, that’s pretty rare without goals. In fact, I don’t believe it to be a stretch to say that it might actually be nonexistent without goals.
Yes…having goals, the kind outside of one’s immediate reach, is an important piece to any athlete (any person) or team reaching their potential. They are essential.
Desire: Described by many as the burning (or fire) within, desire is the internal component that motivates and inspires one to put forth the efforts needed to achieve any goal that was set. For anyone (athlete or not) to accomplish anything, they must truly and deeply want to achieve the outcome they seek, for without desire the end result would most assuredly be disappointment.
Desire has the ability to move a person, an athlete, emotionally. And it is this emotional piece that causes the internal discomfort an athlete feels when their improvement seems to stall. It bothers them on a gut level, thus, adding more fuel to that fire from which passion is born; as athletes and/or teams with a deep sense of desire can accomplish just about anything.
A caution to competitors who might defeat these passionate athletes on any given day, be forewarned, you will surely feel the difference the next time you meet.
Don’t miss the completion of the puzzle in Part III, Regardless of the Sport, Athletes are Much More Alike Than They are Different. Out this Friday!!!