What is the definition of an elite level athlete? Is it someone who consistently wins competitions and can perform at the highest level day in and day out, or is it someone with extraordinary abilities to do things others can’t? I am sure we all have several names that come to mind when answering these questions. Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Floyd Mayweather, and Kobe Bryant are a few names that immediately came to mind for me. However, when thinking about becoming elite level athletes, we should not ask why they are at the top but rather how they made it to the top. How do you become an elite athlete?
Sometimes we think they are where they are because of their exceptional talents, and there is nothing wrong with us thinking this. As humans, we tend to believe what we see and what we see is their performances in the ring, on the track, in the pool, or on the court. As a former elite-level swimmer, I can confidently say that these out-of-the-world performances are only the tip of the iceberg. So what goes on behind the scenes? Below are five things that could show you how to become an elite athlete:
1. They do not expect to become a superstar overnight
Arguably one of the most important secrets to success. Nothing ever happens overnight. If you expect it to, you will most likely end up disappointed. Success takes time, effort and perseverance. You have to trust the process and recognize that it takes time. Never do something just to do it. Do everything you do with a purpose, and you will continue to grow and reach many milestones. Also check out Never Let It Rest.
2. They are willing to do things others are not
To be the best, you have to beat the best. This means that you have to be willing to do what most people will not even think about. What do you do when no one is watching? What are you doing to put yourself in the best possible position to become your best self? Are you following an elite athlete diet, for example? The decisions you make for yourself are the decisions that will turn you from novice to elite.
3. They recognize that hard work beats talent
Every elite athlete out there will tell you the same thing. They are where they are because of their work ethic. Yes, talent can go a long way, but what do you do when talent is not enough anymore? When I was younger, I was struggling to keep up with the rest of my age group. Then, one day, someone close to me told me something that stuck with me to this day. He sat me down and said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Believe in yourself and trust the process.” The only thing I could do was put my head down and get back to work, and it sure paid off.
4. They embrace Failure
Failure is one of the most frequent and essential obstacles on the road to success. How you deal with failure will determine who you become and where you end up. Every elite athlete out there can talk to you for hours upon hours about how they have failed countless times, but instead of giving up, they kept on pushing.
5. They love what they do
At the end of the day, you have to love what you do. Elite athletes put in hours and hours of training every day to keep their bodies and minds in optimal shape. If you do not love what you do every day, all this hard work can only take you so far. Your heart needs to be in it 100% of the way.
The sky is the limit. You have heard the following saying a million times before, but I will say it again: YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO. You just have to be willing to work for it and not give up when things get tough. So get out there and keep on pushing.
Dream. Dare. Succeed.
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This article was posted in world-renowned swimming magazine, SwimSwam
Hi there! My name is Rudo Loock. I am a former competitive swimmer from South Africa. I went to school and trained at Florida State University in the United States of America. I have always had a great passion for both writing and sport and now I have found a way to combine the two things I love most. My goal is to help you achieve great things you never thought were possible. I hope you enjoy my posts and dream big!