Many people believe that there is some secret way to become an elite athlete. Often we think that secret is held by a few coaches or that all great athletes are just born that way and have some unteachable skill set that the average person does not own. The simple truth is, that none of the above is completely true.
There are a variety of things that can help someone become an elite athlete. We will look at what makes up an elite athlete and offer some tips on how you can become an elite athlete. The road map to success itself is not overly complicated but the pitfalls that exist can derail a promising future.
Coaching does play a major role in the development of an athlete and good ones can not only develop mechanical skills but they can also help prepare the athlete for the mental aspect of the sport by raising a players softball IQ. The balance between the physical and mental is a delicate thing to manage and a good coach can help manage the athlete and guide them in the right direction.
No matter how good a coach is, it comes down to the willingness and want of the athlete to take themselves to the next level. If the athlete does not truly want it and does not hold themselves accountable, then you are fighting an uphill battle.
The elite athlete can be put into three categories; the one percent, three percent, and the ten percent. The one percent are those people who are actually gifted on some level. Things come very easy for them and they have natural abilities such as speed, strength, hand/eye coordination or the ability to see the ball off that bat. Having such skills alone does not put them in the one percent but coupled with a drive, work ethic and good coaching they are primed to make it there. This does not mean it is an exclusive club it just means these people may have an easier time getting there.
The three percent may not have the same natural skills as those in the one percent group but they have better than average athleticism and have reached this level through dedication and hard work. They push themselves on a daily basis and are goal oriented. They also act as a sponge when it comes to coaching and learning. This athlete becomes self-aware and develops the ability to self-coach or rather the use of self-correction upon evaluating their own performances. This also is not an exclusive club and as you can see attainable through hard work and dedication.
The ten percent group is very attainable, yet we still only see about one in ten reaches it. This group is made up of good athletes, not always great or gifted ones. Individuals in this group tend to be very goal-oriented and set high marks for themselves, some may even call them the overachievers. They will work hard and go above and beyond what is expected out of them in order to close the gap between those who are more naturally gifted. Often you see their development and growth as an athlete over a longer period of time.
The burning questions would be “Where do I fit”, “How can I become an elite athlete” and “what should I not be doing”?
First and foremost you need to understand one important thing, there is no magic formula to becoming an elite athlete. Also, understand that getting there is not as hard as you may think if you are willing to do what needs to be done. Of course, this is much easier said than done, thus the reason your elite athletes are fewer in number.
If you asked the majority of elite athletes they would most likely give you some pretty common answers. The first is that being an elite athlete is a lifestyle. It is something you live and breathe. Everyone has heard the saying that “if it is not helping you, it is hurting you”. That is part of creating the lifestyle. In today’s world the youth and many aspiring athletes, care more about what is on Twitter than what they can do to improve themselves. They worry more about what the team is doing after the event more than they are about how they will improve to make the event a success. These are the pitfalls. The No. 1 barrier to young athletes not reaching their potential in today’s world is their phone. That may sound funny, but it is the truth.
Being an elite athlete is fun, but it is also hard work. An individual’s definition of what “fun” is can play a major role in that person’s ability to become an elite athlete. If sitting on your phone, partying and caring more about how you look or who you “hang” with is at the top of your daily priority list or is what you consider fun, then being an elite athlete may not be for you. With that said, spending time on Twitter or doing other “healthy” social activities has its place in your lifestyle. It is about priority, these are the things you do once you have achieved your daily goals (making ourselves better in some form)
Five things you can do to easily separate yourself. These are just general concepts and not all or nothing rules. But these simple steps could easily get you into the top 20 percent in a short amount of time.
- Become a better athlete: Work on your core, agility, and overall health. This includes daily workouts, healthy eating habits, proper sleep and increasing your flexibility.
- Become a better student: Know the sport that you play, in this case, softball. Learn the game. Do you even know the rules of the game? How can you be elite at something if you do not understand the basic rules of the game you play? Also, work on your grades. Your grades can open a lot of doors.
- Set goals: Goals are what will guide you and help you establish your priorities. This may be one of the most important ingredients in becoming an elite athlete. Write them down!
- Learn to prioritize: Like we stated earlier, you have to create a lifestyle where becoming better a little every day is the priority, favoring a tweet should not be.
- Repetition: Get reps in, lots of them. We learn through repetition that is a simple fact, “Reps” should be near daily occurrences. You can gain a lot of ground on people simply by increasing the amount of reps you do.
These are not the “magic” beans that will make you an elite athlete but these are things that can get you on the path.