How You Can Become the Best Athlete You Can Be
How do you become the best athlete you can be? Why do so many athletes fall well short of their potential?
When you understand the factors that interfere with improvement, you can apply mental strategies to build motivation and move your game forward.
How many times have you dreaded going to practice? You feel practice has become a punishment. Even games are no longer fun.
Many young athletes drop out of their sport at early ages. Many of those athletes feel too much pressure, feel not good enough, or aren’t seeing significant improvement in their game. No matter the reason, sport should be a positive experience for youth athletes.
Let’s look at what elite athletes do to maintain their motivation and strive to reach their potential.
Forward Sophia Smith plays for the United States Women’s National Team and the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League. Smith was selected by Portland with the first overall pick of the 2020 NWSL College Draft and is highly committed to honing her craft.
Smith believes the key to athletic success is finding a healthy balance between constantly challenging yourself and enjoying the experience.
SMITH: “[Reaching my potential] is really hard balance and something that I have always [worked on], and I’m still trying to figure out to this day – how to balance it in a healthy way. I always want to push myself and to strive for more, and never be satisfied. And I think that’s great, and I think that’s what all the best players in the world have to do. That’s the mindset that they have to have. And then, at the same time, I think if I am forgetting to have fun, I’m not going to be playing at my best. I’ll be putting too much stress and pressure on myself to the point where it’s showing on the field. And that’s absolutely not what I want.”
Maintaining confidence, staying motivated, and uncovering your potential involves finding a healthy balance between striving to improve and enjoying the process.
5 Essential Ingredients to Maximize your Sporting Experience
- Don’t compare yourself to other athletes – Comparison is the quickest way to lose confidence in your abilities and talent. Strive to be a better player than you were yesterday.
- Shoot for progress, not perfection – Trying to be perfect will cause you to give in (give less effort) or give up (quit your sport altogether).
- Enjoy the grind – Find reasons to challenge yourself each training session or practice. One small practice goal can motivate you to push yourself, even during monotonous training sessions.
- Be patient – Nothing happens overnight. Elite, Olympic, and professional athletes grind for years. That is the reason they become elite. Even though you don’t see immediate improvement, it does not mean you are not progressing.
- Have fun – When you have fun, you will persist longer and be more willing to make the sacrifices needed to be your best.
Success is not easy. However, it should not be a miserable experience either.
Tip for Maximizing Athletic Success
The recipe for success is quite simple: work hard, challenge yourself, find a balance between life inside and outside of sport, and have fun.
If you can accomplish these four tasks regularly, you will achieve more than you can imagine.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!
The Relaxed Athlete
You can possess all the physical talent in the world, the best equipment money can buy, and train harder or longer than anyone else in your sport or on your team, but if self-doubt enters your mind prior to competition, you simply will not realize your true potential in sports.
The Relaxed Athlete” audio and workbook program teaches you mental strategies to develop a focused and confident pregame routine for a poised and relaxed mindset. Learn how to get your mind right by overcoming pregame anxiety and worry.