3 Characteristics of the Best Athletes
People often ask me, what are the features of the very best athletes?
Remember though, everyone is an athlete, our office is just different!
Having coached, observed, studied, collaborated, spent time with and spoken to athletes for my entire life, here are the three (3) traits of the best athletes.
Note: I have chosen not to include talent, because talent is a pre-requisite. However, tenacity is more important than talent.
1) Passion- The best possess an unquenchable thirst to see how good that they can become & they LOVE their sport.
This passion translates into a willingness and desire for hard work. It’s the basis of all Mental Toughness. Dale Earnhardt was once in an accident and could not finish his next race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started the race, but they had to remove him from the car.
Here was the greatest race car driver, basically crying, because they had to take him out of the car. He said, “ Nobody loves anything more than my driving a race car.” Passion is one of the characteristics of the best athletes.
2) Competitiveness- The best athletes love to compete and put themselves in situations that test their skills.
The competitiveness is more than just beating others; it is the feeling that they get from testing themselves under pressure.
I often witness athletes even outside of their own sport, remain so competitive to win regardless of the event (e.g., checkers, sit-ups, darts, pogo-stick, etc.).
They may fear losing, but they don’t succumb to that fear, they have an inner confidence that they continually compete. It’s one of major characteristics of the best athletes.
As Jimmy Connors and many others have stated, “I hate to lose, more than I love to win.”
3) Another Gear- If you listen to quality sports announcers close enough, they mention how certain players can change speeds.
For example, Emmitt Smith holds the record for career rushing yardage in the NFL, and while few state that he is the best ball carrier of all time, he was nonetheless able to hit the gap successfully and turn downfield—He had another gear.
The characteristics of the best athletes are that they can muster up the inner fortitude and the “it” factor which allows them to finish strong. They simply have another gear…
These skills may be more innate with the best, but they can be learned and cultivated.
Honestly assess your own mental game and answer which of these characteristics do you possess and which one’s need strengthened.
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.
Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly.