In my last piece, I detailed four of my Nine Attributes Necessary For Athletic Greatness, at least from my viewpoint. You know, the characteristics that allow athletes like Derek Rose, Drew Brees, Derek Jeter, Apolo Ohno, Evan Lysacek, and Shawn Johnson, etc., to perform at levels seemingly unattainable by so many others. My hope was to start moving you away from the "talent is everything" ideals that dominate the thinking of many when it comes to why athletic greats are...well, great.
In this post I want to focus on the last five of these characteristics, bringing more weight to bear on my concept of what makes that difference between those athletes at the top of the food chain compared to all others.
Competitiveness: A strong feeling toward wanting to win or come out on top. It is not necessarily the winning in and of itself that drives athletic greats but the testing of their abilities against others and sheer enjoyment they get over the competition itself that they love.
Resourcefulness: The creativity and ingenuity one applies to a situation. Whether facing challenges in competition or difficulties in training, champion athletes are able to "figure" out what must be done to accomplish what is needed. Their ability to think "outside of the box" in order to come up with solutions is strong within them.
Perseverance: The act of being tenacious and persistent. It is an attitude of focused firmness demonstrated through the action of "always trying." It is a necessary characteristic for anyone seeking athletic greatness.
Passion: Within the heart of every top level champion lies a sincere and deep sense of caring over what they do. The kind of caring that encourages the focused perseverance described in the paragraph above. Like a raging fire burning within, it wholly and completely supports the last attribute to athletic greatness.
Inner Will: The ability to be resolute about something. Simply put, it is the capacity to hold an unyielding position over one's goals and objectives as top champion athletes never give up and never give in. As stated by one known by some as "The Greatest" (Muhammad Ali), "the will must be stronger than the skill."
After reading through the nine items I've listed as attributes necessary for athletic greatness, you should notice two very important aspects to these intrinsic traits. First, they are all, in some way, either directly or indirectly, interconnected as each one has impact on the others, exponentially increasing their effect.
And two, that these attributes are multidimensional in that they are characteristics inherent in and applicable to any type of high levels of success, athletic or otherwise. One's honors, medals, awards, and championships, are somewhat fleeting as they are replaced by the next generation of top champions, but these nine intrinsic qualities stay with a person for a lifetime.