All great athletes in any sport have certain qualities in common. In fact, superstars in any field or discipline have common bonds of high standards, a commitment to excellence, dedication, a robust work ethic and a strong resistance to difficulties - they overcome adversity and seek challenges. So what are the attributes and qualities champion athletes have that place them into the superstar category:
1. Champions are goal oriented - Champions always dream big and they make a pact with themselves to reach those goals. They know why they want those goals and they make a commitment to train hard and follow-through no matter what setbacks they encounter. Reaching for the stars is wonderful, and its simple - Pick a star - Now pick a strategy to get to that star - and follow through.
2. Champions are relentless, highly committed and mentally tough - In some ways we could begin and end here. You can’t be a champion if you give up at the first sign of difficulty. No matter what happens, the mentally tough just keep going. Crucially they might not be the most gifted athletes in the world, but... they're the ones who will work through fatigue, injury, being dominated by a competitor, disappointment, momentary failure, self-doubt, or any other setback. The important thing is that when the dust clears, the mentally tough are still standing. The road to greatness is a road less travelled because most people turn back too soon – nothing stands in the way of a true champion reaching the pinnacle of their sport.
3. Champions have a striking ability to focus and concentrate - Way beyond most competitors, true champions can zero in on key performance elements (Tasks). They are uncanny in their capacity to remain untouched by distractions. A term for this trait might be called a “quiet mind”, for them nothing outside the moment at hand matters. It’s a fact that in sport and in life strong minds always prevail!
4. Champions have the ability to perform ‘better’ under pressure - Champions maintain mental balance and poise under the most extreme adversity. Extreme pressure just acts to increase their focus especially when it really matters, the more pressure that they experience the more in the moment they are and the less filtered their actions are by the conscious thinking mind.
5. Champions are great students and learn fast - Champions are fascinated by the process of learning about their sport, they never stop learning, growing and getting better. Champions absorb experience very rapidly. They learn from every outing, good or bad. They seek feedback from others and consider all sides so that they can introduce new techniques and methods into their play.
6. Champions have control factor awareness - Champions know what they can control, what they can only influence and what is out of their control. They focus only on those things within their control or influence and let go of the rest.
7. Champions have self-awareness -. Champions know themselves well, they know their strengths and weaknesses (technical and mental) and crucially they understand what they need to do to perform well. They are aware of themselves in the moment and they listen to their bodies, their minds and their emotions.
8. Champions have a strong work ethic - Champions know that hard work leads to self-belief, and that they deserve to win because they have paid their dues. They know that hard work staves off self-doubt and lack of action. They know that practice does not make perfect - practice makes permanent…. and only practice that is perfect makes perfect.
9. Champions can pace themselves - Champions know when to take a break and relax. They know how to control the clock so they get a rest. They know that working non-stop leads to burn-out. They have the experience to know when to cruise and when to turn it on.
Champions use perfectionism to drive their practice and training - Perfectionism can actually be crippling, with its overemphasis on doing everything exactly right. Certain kinds of perfectionism can cause over thinking, self-punishment, and a negative emotional life.The winning kind of perfectionist still maintains high standards but they don’t dwell over mistakes and they don't mentally self-punish. This kind of winner does not get overly concerned about the judgments or criticisms of others. They know their own standards, and they know that their critics don't control their careers… they do!They suspend perfection demands once the competition lights come on, shifting into the mode of bringing maximum effort to the Task In Hand, whatever that might be at that moment.