The Three Attitudes of Athletes
Attitude is everything. Our attitude determines how successful we will be. It’s that simple. Here are the three common attitudes of athletes. 1. How little can I do? 2. I will work hard 3. What more can I do!?
1-The ‘How little can I do and get away with it” attitude.
This common attitude is self-explanatory. This is the average person’s attitude. This is the athlete that wants to be successful but doesn’t want to leave their comfort zone. They don’t want to make any changes. They don’t want to be any more committed than they already are. They lack discipline. They might work hard until they get tired. They will be committed as long as there isn’t something more fun to do. This person usually tries to make fun of the more committed athletes (“try hard”) because it’s easier to do that then join in the hard work. They look for easy partners in practice. They complain often. If this athlete is talented they will have success but inconsistently and usually not in the clutch situations. They hope to not have to be challenged in practice or matches. If they do find themselves in a tough match, they are willing to surrender and give up. This athlete is usually one of the first guys to leave the room after practice. They work only as hard as they have to, in all areas. They usually keep an eye on the coach during practice so they can coast when the coach isn’t watching. They go to practice because it is a requirement to be on the team, not to get better. Socially, they might follow team rules during the season but will be quick to find an excuse to party if they can. In the off season, video games and everything else except wrestling is a priority for them. This athlete has fooled themselves into believing that their success is based on circumstances. They are quick to criticize others but rarely hold themselves accountable. They are creative in finding excuses why it isn’t their fault when things don’t work out, and look for excuses to keep in their back pocket in case of emergencies. They understand that obstacles are a part of the game but really hope to avoid them completely. Obstacles are excuses to them. If there is a shortcut, you can bet this person will take it. They aren’t team players usually and worry only about themselves. This person usually doesn’t have much gratitude for the opportunity in front of them. This person focuses on things they can’t control instead of what they can. This person has fun when they can beat up on someone that isn’t in their league, but doesn’t enjoy tough matches or challenges. This person is more concerned about being the “star” of the team, then the team winning.
2- I will work hard.
This athlete is willing to work hard but is missing one or a couple key ingredients to reaching their full potential. This person in above average. They work hard but usually work hard “their way.” Maybe the person with this attitude lacks complete confidence. It’s difficult to be “all in” when you don’t believe you will reach your goal. This person puts more emphasis on circumstances then they should. This person generally means well, they just have flawed beliefs. Those beliefs can be corrected but only with hard work and humility. They think the stars have to be aligned for them. Everything has to be perfect for them to reach their potential in competition. They understand that obstacles are a part of the game but struggle to overcome them. The majority of the time they lack discipline. They might be willing to do the big things but aren’t willing to do the little things. The little things make the big things go. The little things are discipline with weight management, discipline to get enough sleep, discipline to think positively, or not quite willing to accept or believe their coach 100%. Their weight and diet usually balloon up and down because of a lack of discipline which results in inconsistent energy levels and ultimately results. They are willing to work hard but not necessarily willing to work smart. They are stubborn and not willing to commit 100% or willing to buy into the system. They want to win but have a difficult time focusing on effort instead of results. Focusing on results (winning and losing) limits game day performance but very few are willing to not do it. Focusing on something you can’t control is a huge waste of time and energy.
Maybe they don’t think the little things are important. Maybe they think they can get away with a lack of discipline in certain areas. Maybe it’s important to them to be the best they can be, but just not quite important enough to make the difficult sacrifices. They don’t learn from other people’s mistakes and rarely learn from their own. This person is often afraid to make mistakes and that fear tends to hold them back. They proceed with caution and that caution often turns them into “thinkers.” Over thinking slows reaction and attack time and limits potential. This person is a team player but doesn’t want to shoot the final shot in the closing seconds to win the game. This person is usually determined to win but can get stuck trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
3- What more can I do!?
This person gets the most out of their ability. It doesn’t mean they are having the most success because as we know, we are not all created equal in terms of athletic ability. This is the person that works as if they cannot fail. They are totally committed. They want to know what more they can do. They are rarely (if ever satisfied) with where they are at. They continuously seek ways to improve. Very few people with this type of attitude would even consider touching alcohol, tobacco or drugs. They are usually the first to arrive at practice and last to leave. They love to compete. They love to train. They take responsibility for their actions. They are grateful for what they have and the opportunities they blessed with. They fight for the team and that ironically gives them their best performance. They act on faith instead of waiting for confidence. They know they have earned the right to be successful. They compete hard and create their own circumstances. They don’t allow “chance” or “luck” to play a role in their matches. If they lose it is because they got beat, not because they beat themselves. Doing everything right and being disciplined is a no brainer because they want to be successful. They do well academically because they know that you can’t be a great athlete if you aren’t a great student. This person is coachable and always looking for a better way to do things. They look for the positives in situations instead of the negative. This person questions their doubts instead of their chances for success. They focus on what they can control. Their day is centered around their priorities (academics and athletics) and inching closer to their goals. They get things done today. This person makes the necessary sacrifices that separate them from the other attitudes. The difficulties are a pleasure because they understand that those difficulties are just part of the process of reaching their greatest potential. This person understands that there may very well be obstacles. They expect obstacles. They understand that their opponents are under the same stress and pressure that they are and that gives them confidence to shrug it off. They want the pressure because they know that means they are doing things correctly. They understand nerves and pressure are part of life and nothing to worry about. This person has a deep hatred of losing but they don’t fear losing. Their hatred of losing motivates them to work harder and compete harder, not tighten up to avoid mistakes. They understand that 5 minutes is plenty of time to make up for a mistake or two if needed. This person enjoys competing. They look at life like, “Why not me!?!” Someone is going to win, someone is going to be the state champion….why not me!?!”
Our attitude is everything. Looking for the positive in each situation (even our own!) is the key. It is easy to see the positives in other people’s lives but we seem to be less willing to see the positives in our own. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself the same courtesy you give other people. Find the positive and focus on it!!