A large number of athletes in a variety of sports have been recruited into their positions. They are the individuals who can run the fastest, serve the hardest, kick the most accurately and jump the highest.
These individuals move like champions and look like superstars. They have that natural ability that the vast majority of us just don’t have. But a lot of scouts and recruiters are doing themselves a grave disservice in focusing only on the athletes who display an innate or natural ability to perform well in their sport, and here’s why:
The success of a champion really comes down to the quality of mindset that an individual has. Many of the greatest athletes of all time were those that didn’t look or act the part, but they had the mindset and the heart of a champ. Take Muhammad Ali, for example. Though arguably the best boxer of all time, he didn’t have the build of a natural boxer or the lightening quick fists needed to knock out Sonny Liston, but we all know how that story ended. Basketball superstar Steve Nash, being only 6 feet tall, is easily half a foot or more shorter than the vast majority of his teammates and competition, and yet he is one of the greatest NBA players of all time.
How can this be? How can these athletes who have the physical nature of their chosen sport stacked up against them not only be able to play with the superstars, but become one themselves? They’re mentally tough.
Mental toughness is a somewhat broad term, though it includes a number of facets such as:
Acceptance of Deficiencies
Athletes who are mentally tough know that they aren’t necessarily the best of the best or, if they are, that there will always be another superstar coming along down the line. These athletes know where their shortcomings are and they focus on goal setting so that they are continually improving upon these shortcomings rather than beating themselves up over them.
These are positive individuals who understand the merit in keeping themselves motivated. They understand that effort will get them the results they need rather than trust solely in their innate or natural abilities.
All in all, champions have what is referred to as “growth mentality”. They’re open, they want to learn, and they want to improve in any way necessary to increase their performance and to remain competitive in their sport.