Seven Qualities of Winning Athletes

With all things being equal, what is different about winning athletes? When elite athletes are competing, the gap in abilities between the first and last place athlete is relatively small. You’ll need to dig a little deeper to understand what separates the top 1% of elite athletes from all the rest 
Proper training builds strength and endurance. Mindset strategies improve focus and build confidence. Both components, physical training combined with mental game strategies, are necessary for high performance. 
Elite athletes view performance, and winning, from a different set of lenses. Where elite athletes place their focus and attention is different from average athletes.
1. Motivation – There is a burning desire to be the best you can be. Being good enough is not enough. Elite athletes possess a deep need to always improve, taking their performance to the next level.
2. Initiative – Driven athletes don’t wait to be given permission to do something. They are the leaders in all they do, setting the standard for excellence.
3. No Excuses – Full commitment is necessary to be the best. Instead of viewing obstacles as problems, elite athletes approach them as challenges to overcome. The goal is the primary focus.
4. Determination – All challenges have solutions. Elite athletes are actively looking for the opportunities to help them reach their goal. Failure is not an option.
5. Strengths Based Approach – Focus on strengths. Elite athletes know where they excel and use that to their advantage. Find the best approach based upon your strengths. Also develop the skills necessary to minimize weaknesses.
6. Extra mile – A strong commitment sets up elite athletes to go the extra mile. Even when no one is looking, they continue to push themselves to be the best they can.
7. Tough Minded – Athletes are expected to do things which stretch them all the time. Tough minded athletes acknowledge the discomfort, but don’t let it stop them. Taking risks, and pushing through their comfort zone, is part of the champion mindset.
A success mindset is more natural for some than for others. Fortunately, it is not a birthright. Similar to new techniques and skill sets, a champion mindset can be learned.
Consider your level of commitment to your sport. Are you satisfied? If yes, that’s great. If not, then you can choose to change it accordingly.
The best way to begin the process of developing a champion mindset is to be coach-able. Become a student of excellence. Who can you learn from? Role models are excellent for witnessing success principles in action. Your coach and trainer want the best from you, even if they don’t always do a great job of giving you that impression. If they are approachable, find out what suggestions they have for you to improve your performance. 
Be on the hunt for opportunities. They are all around you. The champion mindset focuses on the solutions, not the problems. Elite athletes are creative in their approach to challenges, willing to take a risk. They are all about results. Focused attention on solutions, while maintaining a positive mindset that reaching your goals are possible, will change your approach to challenges. Instead of excuses, you will be seeing opportunities to be the best you can. A champion mindset sets you up for success in all aspects of life.
Challenge: Identify your goals. Be as specific as possible. Be willing to learn what is necessary to help you reach your goal. This means becoming a student of your sport. Winning is not just about physical abilities, it is about learning the underlying principles which make excellent athletes. Experiment. Work on one new skill at a time. You are more likely to succeed with steady effort instead of an all-out approach.

From Loren Fogelman, the Sports Performance Consultant, author of The Winning Point and founder of Expert Sports Performance, a company devoted to teaching athletes around the globe how to consistently achieve high performance levels, maintain focus during competitions and create the confidence to reach their BIG goals.

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