Over the years, I have had many conversations with students and parents about whether there is a recipe for athletic success. As you can imagine, there is not one sole answer, but here are some points I believe are tremendously important.
First, character trumps talent. Every aspiring athlete should aim to be the best at all those things that require no talent or skill, i.e.: be the best in approach. Raw talent is a gift, but positive attitude, attention to detail and dedication are choices. Character choices dictate superior culture and ultimately spark better performance.
Secondly, athletes should be thankful for their parents, coaches, teachers and the other adults that support and coach them. The athletes will understand this more and more as they move through life. It’s important that you listen more than you talk. When someone talks, they are just telling others what they already know. In contrast, when people listen, they learn.
Thirdly, and in the same vein, when obstacles arise, athletes must fight to overcome them but more importantly, learn from them. Risk and failure are just part of learning and eventual success.
Finally and perhaps the most important ingredient, is that the best, whether in athletics, musicianship, business or any walk of life, have the ability to work harder, for longer, and will stay committed to the tasks at hand. Not just sometimes, but all the time.
In this way, the recipe for success is yes, a small amount of talent, but a much larger measure of the right attitude, dedication, willingness to learn and gratitude.