How do you define the soul of a champion? It is difficult to define and yet we know what it looks like; we see it when we watch Roger Federer, Dwyane Wade, and Derek Jeter.
One thing is pretty obvious: there is more to every champion than just skill and strength; there is also something inside that drives him to use his skill and strength to make him a success.
I looked at what a few experts had to say and found some common traits. These are three of them.
According to Athleticscholarships.com, an athlete who wants to go all the way with his sport will have way more disappointments than success when it comes to getting to the next level. Specifically when it comes to playing in college, they encourage athletes to keep fighting.
“The recruits we have worked with that have the best ‘luck’ are the ones that can get told no 20 times and keep emailing and calling. Coaches have to try to find the serious recruits through all of the half-hearted emails. Getting through this filter requires a consistent, quality effort from you.”
This is the same persistence that a champion must have to excel in his performance. Being a champion never comes easy.
Confidence and Composure
Patrick Cohn is a sports psychologist and president of Peak Performance Sports. He says that confidence and composure are key traits of a champion spirit.
"Self-confidence is probably the No. 1 mental skill that championship athletes possess," Cohn says. "Simply put, it is their belief in their ability to perform. They see themselves as winners. They think, act and behave in very confident ways, sometimes to the point it can turn people off."
Composure is closely tied to that. “Can you keep it together under pressure at crunchtime? It's the last minute of the game, and you're trailing by three: It's how well you can stay under control emotionally and can perform when you need to.”
"The other component is how well you deal with mistakes. Can you stay composed and forget about them? Or do you get upset and frustrated and thrown off your game? Athletes who are composed don't get rattled and compound one mistake into many."
You would think persistence, confidence and composure would be all that a skilled athlete would need to succeed, right?
But according to Livestrong.com, being coachable is right up there in importance.
“Athletes might be extremely competitive but will often express humility about how much they still have to learn about their sport. Although there might be exceptions to the rule, athletes are characteristically respectful toward opponents, understanding that their skills propel them to higher performance levels. Having reverence for the sport itself, including the individuals who play it well, is common among athletes.”
You can spend money on club teams and coaches, you can send your child to camps and clinics, but you cannot buy them persistence, confidence, composure, and coachability. These are the traits they must produce on their own, with your support and belief in them.