There are a great number of talented athletes that will spend their entire career wondering why they do not get to the top (elite) level as they desire. This will often happen because they simply do not have the characteristics that are found in elite athletes. Being able to identify the key characteristics are vital to know how to evaluate the potential that exists in a person. Here are some of the common characteristics I think the best athletes share:
The best athletes have a dedication that goes beyond a mandatory practice or competition level. An athlete that is going to reach for much more than ‘good enough’ will dedicate the additional time and energy to shaping their talents and perfecting their craft.
Selfless attitude is much of how a great athlete will operate throughout their life. It is the ability to sacrifice themselves if it helps a greater cause. They think of others and what positive they can contribute, not what they take away from something. This is what makes them great team players. I have to say though, that there are quite some examples of elite athletes who don’t show such an attitude.
Communication skills and the ability to listen are one of the more overlooked characteristics, but there is not a successful athlete that can’t do this. The better an athlete absorbs information, as well as the way it is expressed, can make the difference between becoming a leader or merely doing a “good job”.
Continued motivation will separate the giants among all athletes. This is often a unique factor for each athlete, yet it must be strong enough to overcome the adversity faced along the way. Knowing what motivates an athlete deep down may give you insight about their character.
Self-Confidence may be the key that brings the other characteristics together. Elite athletes will have confidence in themselves to succeed, no matter what ! This allows their dedication and motivation to flourish, because they believe in themselves. Often, this level of confidence is spread to those around them as well.
These are some of the common characteristics that you will find in all great athletes, no matter what their sport is. Some of them are not obvious, so simply watching their performance is merely part of the equation. Discovering the characteristics mentioned may mean observing the athlete ‘off’ the field of play, along with how they have handled themselves in the past.
See how Michael Jordan prepared himself for his games:
Now take a look around in your sports organization, and talk with your athletes about what makes them better.