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The Five Characteristics that Define Champions Ask anyone in the sport of fitness to name a champion and two come definitively to mind: Rich Fronig and Sara Sigmundsdottir. Champions have a fierce desire to overcome challenges: Of the 56 athletes interviewed from a wide range of disciplines including: soccer, rowing, skiing, and combat sports, the UK researchers uncovered every single one had experienced a number of setbacks and obstacles. Champions are constantly setting new goals and challenges: For many athletes competing in the sport of fitness reaching regionals is their end-of-season goal, which once accomplished, sees them, rest-up, satisfied with their achievement.

In contrast, less successful athletes were marked out by their love of the game, but their lack of commitment to their training. Champions visualize and reflect: Visualization has long been a part of elite sports.

What makes a champion - deliberate practice or innate talent

Al Oerter, a four-time Olympic discus champion, and the tennis star Billie Jean King were among the first to publically speak of it in the s. And with good reason: it works. University home. Current students. Staff intranet. Type to search Search. All content. Busting 5 common myths. Sydney at the Rio Games Schedule, news, updates. Interested in exercise and sport science? Michelle Blowes. Keep in mind here that success is about regularly stepping outside your comfort zone. It's about pushing your own limits. Stretching the envelope so-to-speak. If you've read this newsletter before you've come across those words several times.

They're worth repeating here because they are your formula for success. They are your ticket to your goals. The more you put yourself in a position where you challenge your own comfort, the more you refuse to be satisfied with the status quo, the faster you'll progress and develop as an athlete and a person. What does this really mean? Let's start by taking an honest look at yourself, specifically your weaknesses.

Most athletes don't like doing this. They don't like working on their weaknesses because they're not good at them and it's not fun to be incompetent. They don't like how it makes them feel to be inadequate at something. Guess what?

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You'll always be limited by your weaknesses, so enthusiastically grab the opportunity that your weaknesses present you. Working on and strengthening your shortcomings is the fastest and smartest way to bring your training up to the next level. Don't take the easy way out. Get in the habit of going the extra distance. Don't be satisfied with doing just enough to get by because when you do, you're just simply lying to yourself.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable! Think about what your competition is doing and then do that much more. Don't just do your best. He continually discouraged me from spending so much time practicing and competing. Despite the fact that I was an excellent student, had no problems with my grades, straight A's through junior and senior high , and had tons of friends, he felt that I invested far too much time in the game.

If I played 4 tournaments a year, that was way more than enough. I needed to be, according to him, more well rounded. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't a very good learner when it came to my Dad's life lessons. I never did get to achieve that well rounded state of being he wished for me.

Despite ongoing parental resistance, I continued to waste my time playing that silly little game with racquets and balls, stunting my growth as a contributing member of society. Had I listened to my Dad I wouldn't be the social misfit and societal burden that I am today. Worse yet, because I pursued tennis so aggressively, I went on to develop a bit of a career as a teaching professional, corrupting the lives of unsuspecting children and adults with the game that I had become so addicted to.

Oh well, we all have our ugly little secrets! When I think back to my experiences in junior tennis, I wonder what would have happened to me if I had had parental support? If my Dad had encouraged instead of discouraged me, where could I have taken my tennis? If he had gone out of his way to get me some decent coaching I had six months of formal tennis lessons in all the years that I played how good could I have gotten?

If he had taken me to more tournaments and shown some excitement for my accomplishments, would I have played with more pride and confidence? If he had encouraged me to train harder and to dream big dreams? If he had let me know that he was proud of my stick-to-itiveness?

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Despite his non-support I was ranked in New England as a junior, played number one in high school and went on to be the top ranked player in my college and twice conference champion. With his support could I have taken it to the next level? Well you know life. We'll never really know the answers to these questions. We can speculate and come up with some good guesses. With parental support I certainly would've gotten much better. I would have accomplished more. I would have had access to better coaching and developed more confidence. I may even have had what it takes to get to the pros. Truth be told, it doesn't really matter what could have been.

At this point that's nothing more than ancient history!

What makes a champion - deliberate practice or innate talent -

Despite the non-support, I still managed to have a very successful and rewarding career. My tennis shaped my life for the better. It gave me a living and made my life richer even though I was truly achieved well roundedness. What does matter, however, especially if you have young kids involved in sports, is what you may be able to learn from my story.

Your job as a parent is to provide the right amount of appropriate support and encouragement. To be successful, your kids really need your blessings.

They need you to provide the opportunities, the safe environments to learn and master new skills, the perspective about where sports fits in with everything else, and your help to make sure that the sport stays fun. And most of all, they need you to encourage them to go that extra distance, to put the time and effort in that's necessary for them to achieve some success. Now please be careful here! I'm not suggesting that you take on the motivational job of the coach.

What I am suggesting is that you support their investment of time, energy and hard work. You have to understand that success is based on a solid, consistent commitment from the athlete. You can't achieve mastery with inconsistency and half? Your job is to support your child so that if he or she chooses to really pursue a sport, that is, they really want to, you then do everything in your power to appropriately help them do it.

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Provide transportation, get them good sane coaching, help them find appropriate competition, be a cheerleader, offer a healthy perspective, support them when they struggle and fail, and above all, provide them with tons and tons of unconditional love. Understand that your child needs to master the "get comfortable being uncomfortable" formula to achieve success. Hard work and consistent effort is the secret to success. However, be smart enough to be sure that this concept is used in age appropriate ways by those adults involved in your child's coaching.

You certainly don't want youth sport coaches stressing? This kind of uncomfortable from coaches yelling at, belittling, and demeaning, you should never expect your child to get comfortable with. Years ago I did a coaches workshop at a Division I school and was inwardly annoyed through most of my presentation by the negative comments, belittling remarks and sophomoric jokes aimed at me from the lacrosse coach regarding the material I was presenting.

While I certainly don't expect everyone to like or even buy into what I have to say, I do, however expect adults to display some common courtesy and actually act like adults. To him, mental toughness training was a complete joke and it was his job to enlighten me to this fact and point out that my work was a sham. He challenged my concepts, questioned my strategies and rolled his eyes and made disgusted faces at my stories and examples. It was, to date, one of the more infantile responses I have ever witnessed and, as you can imagine, it warmed my heart.

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  • The fact that the rest of the staff was totally into the presentation made his behavior seem all the more bizarre. What really bothered me after I thought about this situation was that this guy was supposed to be a coach. He was supposed to be an educator. What frightened me was that he was actually entrusted in training young, impressionable minds. Aw, c'mon Doc, aren't we being a wee bit too sensitive here?