High Performing Athletes- 6 common characteristics

At the start of the new year, I began as series focused on 6 major characteristics of high performing athletes. Often, I am asked about the what it takes for an athlete to reach a a high performance level beyond natural ability. So, after making a long list, researching top athletes, and persistent review I came up with 6 common characteristics. Obviously, these six characteristics is not an exhaustive list, however, I am certain that some form of these characteristics are prevalent in the life, mind and practices of anyone that is considered to be a high performing athletes. 

Any athlete who desires to perform at the highest level must exercise a extra-ordinary amount of disciple. (Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash)


The summary of the 6 characteristics are:

  1.  High performing athletes are able to clarify the vision and path to reach their goals. 
  2. High performance athletes measure results repeatedly.  They do this to discover areas of progress as well as weaknesses.
  3. High-performing athletes take full responsibility. They take complete ownership of their actions, their plans, and their purpose.
  4. High performing athletes possess “want to”. They willfully want to practice and put in the extra reps. This characteristic is often partnered with words like passion, desire, drive and determination. 
  5. High performing athletes take care of their body, mind and spirit. They plan and execute good self care habits and have the discipline to maintain those habits. 
  6. High performing athletes seek out great coaching. They intentionally look for and listen to coaches who  can help them  break through to the next level. 

Now that you are aware of these six characteristics, the next question to consider is what is the common denominator ties them together?  In my opinion that denominator is discipline. Any athlete who desires to perform at the highest level must exercise a extra-ordinary amount of disciple. Almost to a level that seems obsessive when compared to those around him/her. High performing athletes know that to make their goals into reality uncompromising discipline is a must.  

HIGH PERFORMING ATHLETES: COMMON CHARACTERISTICS- “HAVE TO”

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. 

Photo by Ruben Leija on Unsplash

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.

High Performing Athletes: common characteristics- Responsibility

What does it take to be at the top of your game? Have you ever wondered what is the daily regime for those capable of performing at high level consistently. To kick off 2020 I want to outline some of the characteristics  of high performing athletes (HPAs). After all, the name of this blog has the words Elite Athletes, and assuming most of the audience are athletes, why not share helpful tips for elite athletes seeking strategies to improve. 

Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash


This week, the topic is responsibility. In a culture where blame is the game, people who take personal responsibility for their actions are rare. Sadly, its easier to blame someone else than to own up to our own mistakes. But this is not how HPA’s work. 


Instead, high-performing athletes take full responsibility. They would never let someone take the blame. HPAs take complete ownership of their actions, their plans and their purpose. High performing athletes want the ball in their hand when the clock is ticking down.  


So, HPAs assume full responsibly by being fully accountable. It means that no matter what the outcome, the only person to blame is yourself.  In no situation will excuses be acceptable! High performing athletes do not sit around hoping to rise to success on the back of someone else. No, high performing athletes understand that in every situation they are both 100% responsible and 100% accountable. 

High Performing Athletes: common characteristics

Helping athletes perform at the highest level possible is what Elite Athletes Recruiting is all about.  So, to kick off  2020 I will be sharing about several common characteristics that I have found in high performing athletes (HPA).


This year I want to help my readers to perform at the highest level possible in 2020. 
Last week, I outlined how high performing athletes (HPA) are able to clarify the vision and path to reach their goals. 

This week I want to impress a second common characteristic. High performance athletes measure results repeatedly.  They do this to discover areas of progress as well as weaknesses. Because, results can only become obvious over a period of time it is necessary to make it a priority to measure results. 

For most of us progressing towards our goals takes time. Days, months, years. Rarely, does success happen overnight. Thats why it is important to measure or track progress. The danger of not keep measurements is discouragement. Unless you are paying close attention, incremental progress can be easily overlooked. Likewise, neglecting to measure results can lead to plateaus where not progress is being made whatsoever. 

In a tangible way, this is the reason why stats are so important in sports. It is also the reason why score is kept in athletic competitions.  Stats and scores highlight who wins and who loses.

So to avoid stagnation, high performance athletes measure the results of both successes and failure so that they can form new strategies to help them reach new levels of achievement.
What areas of your athletic performance, business, or physical health have you set goals for in 2020?  How do you intent to measure measure progress to assure that you reach those goal