What is Excellence in Sports? 

What is Excellence in Sports?

What does “setting the standard” mean in sports?

Setting a high standard refers to establishing a level of quality, expectation, or performance.

Some teams set winning as the standard. Often, teams with a high expectation of winning adopt the credo, “Championship or Bust.”

While winning may be the goal, defining success in those narrow terms is problematic. For one, when you narrowly focus on wins, titles, and championships, competitive pressure increases to maintain the standard.

Under those conditions, some players become hyper-nervous and make more mistakes and bad decisions. Sometimes, setting an excessive winning standard leads to underperformance and losses.

A more advantageous standard to set is a standard of excellence. Committing to excellence is more than just showing up at a game and trying to win.

When you have a standard of excellence, you commit to preparing and working to win every moment in practices and competitions.

When you set a standard of excellence, you take pride in your preparation.

  • You show up on time for practice and are mentally and physically ready to get to work.
  • You strive to be your best by challenging yourself and stepping outside your comfort zone.
  • You commit to continuously hone your mental, physical, and technical skills to improve your overall performance and contribution to your team.
  • You are consistent with your effort and focus.
  • You are willing to go the extra yard to maximize your potential.
  • You hold yourself accountable for your attitude, words, and actions.

The standard of winning is based on results, and you are not in total control of the outcome of a competition.

The standard of excellence is steeped in action. Focusing on excellence puts the onus on you to maintain a high standard regarding your attitude, effort, focus, and preparation.

Maintaining a standard of excellence is the secret weapon that gives you an edge over your competition.

When you take advantage of every opportunity to raise your game, you enter competitions with the utmost confidence in your ability to perform at a high level.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts stated that teammate wide receiver A.J. Brown has set a standard of excellence for himself and his team.

That standard of excellence is a guiding principle for each team member and sets the tone for how the team approaches practice and games.

HURTS: “I know [Brown’s] a competitive person. He demands a lot out of himself, and that goes for anyone else in the locker room. Like I said, he has a standard for himself, and he’s not compromising that. He’s demanding that of himself, and he wants that out of his teammates, as well, and everyone around him.”

Setting a high standard is not about perfection but continuous growth and improvement. Setting a standard of excellence is challenging yourself to be your best continually.

Setting a standard of excellence builds a competitive mindset, fosters peak performance, and leads to greater personal and professional satisfaction and success.

First, define what excellence means to you. Next, write a summary statement that outlines the standard for you in personal terms.

Finally, post your standard of excellence statement in a visible place to remind yourself how to achieve athletic excellence.

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