Right or wrong, athletes tie their identities to being athletes. What kind of athletes do they see themselves as? Champions? Fighters? Head cases? Chokers? How an athlete views him or herself has wide-reaching effects on his or her identity.
Athletes face a lot of pressure in sports today. They feel pressure to play at a high level and to earn playing time and scholarships. They feel pressure to recoup the investment their parents have made in travel ball and specialized coaching. Unfortunately, many athletes don’t recognize where the pressure is coming from or how to handle it.
Athletes can have a short fuse. When the game doesn’t go their way they get frustrated. Unfortunately, this frustration gets taken out on opponents, teammates, fans, officials, and equipment in aggressive ways. Depending on the team, this may be okay. What isn’t acceptable is letting frustration degrade performance. Help your athletes keep their emotions in check to perform their best.
Transitions are hard. Moving from the known to the unknown is scary. Yet the stats show that only 6% of high school athletes will play in college. Fewer than 0.5% of high school athletes will become professional athletes. Even if they do go pro, every athlete has to transition to life after sports one day. In working with Wounded Warriors over the years, I’ve learned that athletes can learn a lot from these resilient individuals.
Why do 92% of people fail to reach their New Year’s goals? They don’t have the commitment, resilience, and determination to see their resolution through. Perhaps they just lack an effective plan. Avoid becoming a statistic in 2017 and set yourself up for success. Set big goals. Make 2017 the best year ever – in sports, work, or life.
One reason I love watching athletes receive awards is the acceptance speeches. In them athletes thank God, their mom, their Little League coach, their teammates, the fans, and on and on. They express tremendous gratitude to all those who helped them along the way. What if we encouraged athletes to express gratitude more often?
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I love this quote. It is a reminder that success comes from doing the little things, consistently, over time. I’ve written before about 11 habits that cultivate excellence, but many people struggle to develop habits in the first place.