Traits of a Champion!
Having been involved in developing Junior Athletes as they pursue the next step in their athletics careers - College - I have noticed the traits of those who successfully transition to College Sports.
I have a strong belief that athletic success is much more than just talent, it's also being a well rounded person with the following traits:
Hard work and Participation
Nothing shows a champion like an athlete who works hard. Working hard doesn’t always mean putting in a lot of time – it is quality over quantity! At University of New Mexico our practice sessions were always well thought out maximizing our practice time so that we could work hard and perform our best. It goes without saying participation is key – and participation means in everything – for athletes that means their sport training, performance training, mental training, academics and competition.
You can’t be successful without accountability, you must hold yourself accountable to your training plan, to your studies and to the process! Without accountability all you have it a lot of excuses, and excuses only lead to disappointment!
This revisits the quality versus quantity discussion. Do you think that four hours of mediocre unfocused practice is better than two hours of focused practice? Of course, knowing your limits and following your training plan, allow you to maximize focus and performance. This holds true when you get into a tournament competition as well. One small slip of focus in a golf tournament can end up with a big number!
Champions always show a quick ability to adapt! There are many things thrown at student athletes, whether it is a pop quiz or bad weather at a tournament! Those who can adapt and change always come out on top!!!
Willingness to Listen and Learn
This is a big one for a trait of a champion – those who continually learn and better themselves are always trying to maximize their knowledge and skills. The more willing you are to listen and learn the better. Those that feel like they know everything miss out on a lot of opportunities in their development. Learning means analyzing your performance honestly, looking at stats and using that information to modify your training to perform your best.
Champions show a unique ability to ask a lot of questions. They constantly want to ask others for advice, to discuss reasoning and they seem to read and/or watch a lot of videos. It could be watching others perform, watching swing videos, reading books on mental training, or from golf champions. A healthy curious desire helps fill the knowledge base of champions!
Time Management is a key factor for success. Champions are very organized individuals, they plan, complete lists and manage their time so that they complete the needed tasks. Time management is not only about practice schedule, but school studies and a balanced school/training/fun schedule. Students with the most success manage their time in an efficient way – utilizing schedules and lists to help them through this process.
You should know your strengths and weaknesses in your sport and what your tendencies are, this will allow you to change them or adapt in the middle of a round or practice. Champions have the knowledge, the desire and confidence to make choices in their life that will help them along their path.
And the most important, which really wraps up the traits above is attitude! Nothing says a champion more than attitude! Positive attitude and the ability to pick yourself up is the best trait we can ask for in a any athlete - true champions succeed in maintaining a positive attitude!