One of the most common questions that we get here at Compete is: “What does it take to reach the next level?” (ie college/pro sports). Each coach will have their own unique answer, but most of their responses boil down to 4 simple characteristics/habits.

1. Being Intentional


Elite athletes take advantage of every opportunity to get better. They are intentional with each rep, each practice, and each game. Time has proven that athletes who are present physically and mentally at practices receive greater results than those who just show up. Not only do focus and intentionality at every practice allow for better results but also mean less need for excessive practice. For example, 4 hours of focused work = 14 hours of unfocused work. Being intentional with every part of your sport, including the preparation, is imperative to reaching the next level of play.

2. Coachability


The term “coachable” athlete is thrown around a lot. However, what does it mean to be coachable? Being a coachable athlete simply means being able to listen and work with your coach. As a coach, it is incredibly hard to work with an athlete who won’t listen or communicate what they are feeling. Elite athletes know that their coach is there to help them and when they disagree with their coach, they discuss the disagreement. Doing this allows the athlete to not only learn from the coach but also help them receive the best possible training they can. A coachable athlete doesn’t need to be told to work hard, they just do it.

3. Discipline


The term discipline comes down to one question: how much do you want it? Every athlete claims that they “want to get better”, but it becomes blatantly obvious to coaches whether they do. Being disciplined shows in not only the workout but also through all aspects of the athlete’s life. It is apparent in habits such as showing up early, getting enough sleep, and being consistent. By being disciplined, you put yourself above the rest by doing the hard things no one else likes to do.

4. Ability to Process


Elite athletes are not always on their best game, they have bad games as well. But what makes them elite is that they can process and break down why they had a bad game. Elite athletes spend hours making sure they are prepared for competition, so when they don’t perform the way they wanted, they retrace their steps and find the kink in the system that allows them to fail. This process may look as simple as watching game tape or might be as complicated as breaking down your training schedule with your coaches. This process is imperative to ensuring continual evolution, progress, and consistent improvement as an athlete.