From the outside looking in, most people say that an athlete’s skill set is their success. That is a huge part of it, but there’s much more than just skills. There are three attributes almost all successful athletes have that go somewhat unnoticed by the public.
1. Looking Good
“If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good. And if they pay good, you eat good.” – Deion Sanders
These are words to live by for about 95 percent of athletes at any level of competition. Many people outside of athletics don’t understand the obsession athletes have with their appearances when they play. Many don’t understand the emphasis on arm sleeves, eye black and wristbands and why this helps athletes play better. One term for looking good while playing is “swag.”
It’s a simple explanation for why looking good leads to great play, so let me map it out. For starters, looking good in any aspect of life leads to confidence. Playing a game is just like going on a first date. If you dress to impress when you play sports, it’s guaranteed to lead to confidence. Confidence is a main factor in trusting your skills and playing to your best ability. Looking good will also make you comfortable. If you don’t look good while playing the game, you won’t feel right in the uniform. Being uncomfortable leads to poor play. The more comfortable and confident you are, the better you will play.
2. Not Thinking
If you listen to athletes, they will tell you they are at their best when they aren’t thinking about much. When athletes play to their best potential, they keep things simple. Moreover, they live completely in the moment. Yogi Berra, one of the greatest MLB catchers in history, once said, “You can’t think and hit at the same time.” If you’ve ever played a sport, this is understandable. Obviously, athletes must have a game plan, but once it’s time to perform, they relax and just let it happen.
Thinking too much leads to anxiety about the task at hand. Anxiety leads to negative energy, which leads to poor performance.
3. Not Caring About the Outcome
The truth is, when athletes care too much about the results of their sporting events, they try too hard. They’re out there trying to do too much and end up unsuccessful. Athletes who stay consistent and do well don’t really care too much about the end result during the game. This may sound negative, but it’s the truth. Many athletes will tell you once they’ve put in the work and game time comes, they just go out there and have fun. They’re only controlling what they can control. A lot of the time one athlete can’t completely control the outcome of a game or match. This isn’t saying that athlete’s don’t care about their success. They just put it aside and go out and play the game.
Published May 1, 2013