By Taylor Gerard
If you are an athlete, you have experienced the major adrenaline rushes, roaring cheers from the crowd, and most importantly, the intense desire to win. Everybody wants to win. Winning is fun and a major reason why people play sports. Who doesn’t want to be the best at something? However, getting to the top is extremely difficult and takes time and dedication. Here are a few quick and easy tips that will help you be the best:
1. The scoreboard isn’t your best friend. Yes, the ultimate goal is to beat your opponent, but there are other ways to win. The scoreboard is right there and so easy to look at, but swear, the best way to measure your success is through how much effort you put in. In sports, there are things that you can control and then there are things that are out of your hands. You can’t control how good the other team is, but you are in complete control over how much energy and work you put into each game and practice. If you give every practice and game your all, you should be proud of yourself and realize that you did everything you could to succeed. That type of success is much more rewarding than a simple technical end result. Now, it’s essential to remember that the goal is always to win, but how you define success and get to winning is crucial in becoming a great athlete. The best part is, eventually, all this hard work will translate into more wins on the scoreboard.
2. You can always improve. Obviously, some people are born more athletic than others, but the amount of talent a person has isn’t set in stone. It is key to remember that an athlete can always improve with time and hard work. Just because you reach one goal, doesn’t mean you are done forever. The toughest and strongest athletes are those who always believe that there is something to improve upon or learn. Never give up and never settle.
3. Develop a mistake ritual. What’s a mistake ritual? A mistake ritual is a simple action and internal dialogue that allows a player to remove themselves from their previous mistake and re-focus. This may sound a bit ridiculous, but it actually works. A mistake ritual can be as simple as tightening a hair tie and saying to yourself, “You got this next time,” or clapping your hands together and saying “shake it off.” Having a mistake ritual allows an athlete to move on and concentrate on what lies ahead in the game, while teaching them that mistakes are not necessarily a bad thing. A mistake ritual can be really beneficial if an athlete takes time to make their specific action a habit. Once you’ve mastered your mistake ritual, it will be super easy for you to stay positive and move on. That next huge basket, goal, spike or swing is totally yours.
4. Fake it til’ you make it. This sounds cliche, but promise, it is extremely helpful. Pretending to be confident by using powerful body language, eventually translates into a positive mental and physical change in a person. By literally standing up tall and lifting your head up high, your brain gets a signal that informs your body that you are ready to perform. This simple body language shift actually can increase an athlete's level of play. So, before your next big game or when your team is down, get in a circle and power pose. Stand up tall, put your hands on your hips and pick your head up. This may look a bit strange, but you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this simple movement can make.
Athletes such as Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm, Serena Williams, and Michael Phelps did not get to where they are by sheer luck or natural talent. Guaranteed, all of these famous athletes had to work through blood, sweat and tears to accomplish their goals. By using these simple tips, you are getting one step closer to improving and becoming a better athlete.