We have seen top athletes achieving fantastic goals while others who possess equal physical and technical talents fall short of becoming successful. Is it nature or nurture? This is a million dollar question whose answer will be forever debated. What most coaches agree on, however, is that elite athletes have developed a rigorous process that helps them remain focused at the time when they need to perform.
One of the main characteristics elite athletes share is their high level of confidence and ability to manage their performance anxiety. They work very hard to create a pre-performance and performance routines that enable them to remain fully concentrated to the task in front of them. They psych themselves out into believing they will succeed. Expectations, self-doubts, and criticism are pushed aside. Instead, they focus on achieving one goal at the time that will eventually them lead to the final outcome. They are fully committed to meeting their goals and see obstacles as temporary setback rather than insurmountable problems. In fact, they are well aware that major learning takes place when they do not achieve their best. They study and learn from those experiences and use them to catapult them into achieving their next goal. Every experience is food for thought.
They use a variety of psychological strategies to help them achieve their best, among them: use of solid routines, strong performance focus, positivism, high personal standards, use of clearly set goals, daily imagery practice, managing performance anxiety, breathing relaxation, and focusing skills.
On the other hand, when paying attention to non-successful athletes, research identifies them as having difficulty remaining focused, having self-doubt, deviating from routines in highly pressured situations, inability to manage emotions and eventual withdrawal of attention and focus.
Are all successful athletes born having positive attributes? My hunch says, No. A strong sense of commitment and self-determination is learned. Top athletes learned it and so can you.