Athletes appeal to us for different kinds of reasons and over the years lots of us have been drawn to specific athletes because of look, performance, personality, teeth, eyes, ears and so many other things. Most of the athletes we like are also great to watch on the field/court of play and television audiences have largely been affected by that in recent times. However, have you ever stopped to think what drives to perform at the highest level with giving top performances consistently? What really makes them tick?
All great athletes have committed themselves by exhibiting dedication, discipline, stick-to-itiveness and even a willingness to compete when the odds are against them and there are times we would really like to get into their heads to know how they think, what motivates them, what are the likes and dislikes and also how do they remain human?
The psychologists will tell you great athletes are coachable, they have a strong work ethic, they are aware of their work environment, they have composure, presence and poise; they may even be confident. But beyond that, there is always something(s) that touch(es) on the soft side, make them want to quit and also an inner part which want to do what they really want to do like party, drink, smoke, drive fast, put on weight out of season and even not want to train as per a schedule.
It is important for management of these athletes to understand these idiosyncrasies and work on a way to best manage and get the best out of the athlete simultaneously.
1. All world beaters want to always be on top and will want to perform better with each outing
2. All world beaters welcome competition but would prefer to be on top and will work hard at remaining on top
3. All world beaters listen to that ‘little’ voice in the back of their heads or even voices from outside, then do what they want to do. We have to give them choices with consequences so they are better able to make informed decisions
4. They also know when to take a break, even it does not agree with what the coaches/management say, but they take the break anyway. How long they stay on that break is what requires adjustment
5. We sometime spend too much time giving them instructions, as opposed to listening to them to hear their opinions. As the athlete gets older and more mature they too begin to develop a mind of their own and will require guidance and not instructions
6. They dream and if they share their dream with you, take that as your template to make the dream happen. There are times however, when you can be honest to say the dream cannot happen. Be gentle.
7. Be aware of the friends they have and be aware of the other instructions they get. Be positive in telling them the realities.
8. Listen more and talk less sometimes
9. For those who are close to their immediate family, embrace that, you may pick up a few ideas which could prove valuable in the near future
10. Talk to them not at them
Bill Cole, a mental game coach, out of California has written on the topic Championship Athletes – what makes them tick? Take a read sometimes.
In one of his columns he said “they learn from themselves, from those around them and from their environment. They embrace winning, competition and reaching their potential as athletes and as individuals. We can also learn a tremendous amount from them.”