This week I continue to outline major characteristics of high performing athletes (HPAs). For this week, the characteristics is one of those easily identifiable traits. It’s one that is so obvious that it makes other athletes (and often their parents) envious. I would further go on to say that this characteristic is one that can be learned. Its is like a match struck and put to a fire, smoldering then suddenly bursting into flame.
This week I want to outline a characteristic in high performing athletes that is best described as “want to”. This characteristic is often partnered with words like passion, desire, drive and determination. HPAs with this characteristic understand that “want to” means willing desire. It’s as if the putting in the work is a privilege and the pain of pushing the limits is actually enjoyable. In contrast, to “want to” is “have to”. Athletes who “have to” require an amount of compromise and external motivation to put in the work.
High performing athletes with “want to” are uncompromising. They put in the time for work outs. The do it because they love it, not because coach says to, or because their parents say so. Instead, HPA’s with “want to” put in the work because of the passion for the game. Further, they love to compete against others and against their personal personal records. HPAs with “want to” don’t have to be dragged out of bed. And they don’t have to rely on motivational hype to get started. No, instead they are self-motivated and self-driven.
HPA’s with “want to” passion also realize that the externals of the game matter. The externals of the game make a difference so they put in the work in the gym, in training, in practice, outside of practice and in the film room. In their free time, they study the game to improve their sport IQ. With a critical eye, HPAs study themselves looking to evaluate and critique personal preparation, practice and performance. They also pay attention to what they eat, how they sleep, and who they hang out with. Because HPAs with “want to “ recognizes that all of these things impact passion and performance.
But as mentioned earlier, the “want to” characteristic can be learn. It is not exclusive only for a small group. No, with encouragement, confidence and focus new habits and routines can be develop that change “have to” athletes into “want to” high performing athletes.