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Mentality of Successful Athletes

Updated on December 7, 2017

Mental toughness is an important aspect in every sport. Being a successful athlete is more than just talent and hard work. Here is a list of 9 mental characteristics of successful athletes.

1. Maintain a positive attitude

To be a successful athlete, you must realize that attitude is a choice and it should be a positive one. View your sport as an opportunity to compete against yourself and learn from your successes and failures. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

2. Manage high level of Self-Motivation

Self-motivation is being aware of the gains experienced through your sports participation. You should be able to make it through tough tasks and tough times, even then the benefits are not earned quickly. Successful athletes understand that most of the benefits come from being a part of the sport, not the outcome or score.

3. Set SMART goals

Setting long-term and short-term goals that are realistic, time-oriented, and measurable is also what successful athletes do. You should be aware of your current capabilities and develop plans to attain your goals. Commitment carries a big role when it comes to actually meeting your goal.

Handle adversity. Let it motivate you.

4. Deal with people effectively

Successful athletes are able to communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs to people. You should know that you are part of a larger system that includes family, friends, teammates, coaches, and many more. Using these personal skills will help approach conflict and adversity throughout your athletic career.

5. Utilize positive self-talk

Using positive self-talk allows for successful athletes to maintain their self-confidence. You should talk to yourself in a way that you talk to your best friend. This will help you regulate your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during competition.

6. Make use of positive mental imagery

Positive mental imagery will prepare you for competition by imagining yourself perform well. Create detailed, specific, and realistic mental images before and during competition to prepare for action and recover from errors and poor play.

Focus and Concentration

7. Manage anxiety effectively

View and accept your anxiety as part of the sport. Some degree of anxiety can help you perform well. Understand techniques like slow breathing that will help reduce anxiety when it comes on too strong.

8. Effectively manage their emotions

Accept your excitement. Accept your anger and disappointment. It is a part of the sport experience. You should be able to use your emotions to better yourself rather than hinder your performance.

9. Maintain concentration

To successful athletes, concentration and focus is essential. Learning how to maintain focus and not concentrate on internal and external distractions is important to successful athletes. You should be able to regain your focus when it is lost and learn to be mindful during competition. Play in the present without thinking of past or future events.


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