What makes elite athletes elite?

January 12, 2019

Tony Robbins is an American Author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and life coach. But above all, he is well known as one of the best top life and business strategists in the game. Robbins was able to identify key characteristic traits that all elite athletes possess. Some of us may possess some of these traits; yet you will often find the those who are the ‘best of the best’ have all of these traits which makes them well adjusted to the harsh business of sports. These qualities are also applicable to life elsewhere which does explain why many athletes have gone on to become great businessmen.

 

Here are the three traits they all share:

 

1. Hunger

By this he means that all elite athletes are persistent in their pursuit of improvement, growth, and strive to reach the next level: “it’s the ability to keep growing that only comes from an internal drive of hunger that says, ‘no matter how great I am at what I’m doing, I’m just beginning’”. There’s another level and I’m going to find it.” Without this hunger, he says, athletes run at risk of being too comfortable, remaining at the same level: “Very few people have that [hunger]. Most people get to a certain goal and they get comfortable and they stop”.

 

Michael Jordan is indisputably the GOAT of the NBA, yet he was cut from his high school varsity basketball team. So, why was he able to become the dominant player that he’s known for? Of course talent and skill played a part, but the fundamental cause of his success was that he used his past failures as fuel for his drive and hunger. “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it,” Jordan stated. “That usually got me going again”.

 

2. Domination

When you think of the best tennis players, the first thing that the average person would think of would be Serena Williams, Venus Wiliams, and Federer. But what about Angelique Kerber, or Victoria Azarenka? Chances are, you would not know who these tennis players are, despite the fact that they are playing tennis at the elite level. So what separates Serena from Angelique? Serena has dominated the tennis scene, whereas Angelique has not. “It’s the desire to dominate, to be the best, to rise to a new level. To conquer yourself first, but by conquering yourself first, by conquering yourself you conquer everyone else.” If you want to become the best in sports or anywhere elsewhere in life, you must strive to dominate rather than just to compete.

 

3. Passion

Elite athletes love what they do. This is incredibly important as they will naturally become more persistent in the face of struggle and will work harder, which leads to even greater results. Robbins says: “If you don’t love what you do, you’re not going to excel. You’ve got to love it. It’s got to be something that takes you to another level”.

 

 

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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