How Great Athletes Become Great

How Great Athletes Become Great

Have you ever wondered how great athletes became great?

What elevated Patrick Mahomes, Lebron James, Alex Morgan, Sabrina Ionescu, and Novak Djokovic to great heights?

Each of those athletes is talented. However, there are plenty of examples of gifted athletes who never lived up to their potential. In fact, every year during the NFL draft, commentators talk about highly drafted players that were busts at the next level.

What causes some athletes to maximize their potential while other athletes never entirely live up to expectations?

Great players adopt a mentality of continually looking for ways to improve their game. Elite athletes consistently play at a high level because they constantly look for little ways to improve their game.

Great athletes set the goal of athletic excellence. While they acknowledge their successes, great players are not satisfied with yesterday’s accomplishments.

After each game, they evaluate their performance. They examine what they can do differently or better. They elevate their game by working smarter and committing to developing elite mental skills.

Standing pat is never an option for peak performers. They understand their competition is working hard to take over their spot, and if they are to stay on top, they need to continually raise their game.

Athletic excellence is a matter of maximizing your potential by:

  • Defining what success means to you and setting specific, achievable stretch goals.
  • Committing to being better today than you were yesterday.
  • Embracing change by looking for ways to improve.
  • Challenging yourself daily in training.
  • Seeking constructive feedback from coaches.
  • Identifying areas for improvement and creating a detailed action plan.
  • Taking care of your physical and mental well-being.
  • Prioritizing the development of your mental game and building mental toughness.
  • Striking a balance between sport and life to prevent burnout and maintain long-term success.

In the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup, Mexico upset USWNT 2-0. The defeat was just the second loss to Mexico in 43 matches. In addition, the loss was the US squad’s first on home turf against Concacaf opposition since 2000, breaking an unbeaten streak of 80 games (78 wins, two draws).

After the game, USWNT forward Alex Morgan commented that the world of soccer is advancing, and if the US is to stay on top, it will need to continue finding ways to improve.

MORGAN: “Not only Concacaf, but the whole world is continuing to raise its level. It’s helping with all the leagues around the world, and Mexico is definitely a product of that with their league. Concacaf is not what it was 14 years ago when we had our last loss to Mexico.”

Adopting an athletic excellence mindset means being committed to preparing, training, and competing at the highest level to unlock your athletic potential.

After each week, grade your practice and competition performance. Ask yourself, “What can I do mentally, physically, or technically to raise my game one percent?”

If you commit to improving one percent each week, you will accomplish much more than you think you can achieve today.

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