Have you ever wondered what elite athletes do differently to stay so far ahead of the rest of us? While many of them showed physical promise from a young age, this is about more than some sort of built-in genetic advantage that they have. To get to the top of their chosen sport, athletes need to work hard and take advantage of the following benefits.
Access to top class facilities
It’s easy to underestimate the advantage that being able to train in world-class facilities provides. This isn’t just about getting fit, it’s about using the latest technology to improve their technique and endurance in the most efficient and effective way possible. It simply isn’t possible to train at the same level at home or without any sort of professional facilities.
As the technology used in sports science becomes continually more impressive, will this gap between the elite and the rest of us grow or shrink? It’s a difficult question to answer, as a great deal depends upon the affordability and accessibility of the best tools. Even if excellent wearables and monitors become more affordable, everyday users will need to learn how to use them effectively and how to interpret the results in a way that supports constant improvement.
The difference in facilities is also evident when athletes are recovering from injury. Elite-level facilities may include cutting-edge facilities such as an oxygen chamber, a swimming pool and all the other elements needed to make a full and speedy recovery, while amateur athletes could suffer for far longer and possibly even have their long-term abilities hampered in some way.
The good news is that top-quality rehabilitation from sports injuries is now more accessible to everyone than ever before. This interview with Jordan Sudberg, who is the CEO of Spine and Sports Rehabilitation, confirms that he has productive meetings every day with around 20 people recovering from sports injuries and that regenerative medicine is one of the trends that most excites him right now.
They listen to the experts
The last point leads us to this next one, which is the expert advice that top athletes listen to. This is crucial for their career and development, as it provides them with constant learning opportunities, often involving experienced athletes who’ve seen and done it all in their careers. This list of the best advice for athletes from people such as Kelly Starrett and Des Linden shows that sometimes a short, simple phrase is enough to provide the necessary motivation.
Athletes also receive technical advice to improve their technique and training. One of the key aspects of any elite athlete is that they listen to good advice and put it into action. The truth is that anyone can now access expert training advice online, as there are many excellent videos that show the processes step by step, but not everyone has the determination to sit through this training and take it all in like a pro.
A strong mental attitude
Perhaps the one thing that really separates the performance of the best athletes from the rest is their strong mental attitude. These pros play to win at all times and are determined to succeed no matter what. Compare this to the average amateur who enjoys the sport but maybe doesn’t push themselves as hard. It’s easy to see the difference.
An examination of the mental skills needed by athletes to succeed reveals some fascinating facts. For example, maintaining a positive attitude and a high level of self-motivation are at the top, as you would expect. However, the list also includes positive mental imagery and self-talk as crucial factors.
To put it simply, a lot of people don’t set themselves high enough goals and demand enough of themselves. This can lead to them giving in too easily when the going gets tough, or ultimately settling for mediocre performance when they were capable of more if they really pushed themselves.
This is the one factor that we’ve looked at that must come from within each person. The best technology and advice in the world won’t help if an athlete can’t dig deep within themselves and find the necessary desire to succeed. If we look at the best athletes over time, like those in this list topped by Bo Jackson, we find an incredible will to win that simply can’t be taught.
This is all evidence that elite athletes don’t just reach the top of their chosen sport by luck or by being in the right place at the right time. It takes years of dedication and access to the best facilities and trainers available. Above all, it requires an unshakable will to win that comes from within and that carries through all the good and bad moments in their careers.
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