What actually makes for a great athlete?

Spoiler alert, it takes things you have inside you!

Published by ActivePlace
on August 25, 2020


Multiple World Champion Ironman Jan Frodeno / pic Mark J. Terrill

We're all capable of being elite athletes, because, yep, you guessed it, we're all human. There are few exceptions to the rule sure, but 99% of all great athletes aren't necessarily above any other person because we're all kind of created equal, as apes with accelerated brain capacity (most of the time). OK, it's not that straight forward, some people are downright gifted, or have perfect helpings of the perfect complimentary skills and upbringings, but when you boil it down, we are all, well, equal at one point.

So what makes someone like Jan Frodeno a significantly higher performer than, say, Steve Jinnies (Steve is the guy that prefers almost anything over training for a goal)? The answer is somewhere between 'not that much' and 'a huge amount' depending on the person, but there are 4 core drivers that we can all absolutely tap into and focus our energy on.

"The first thing is PURPOSE."

Purpose is an intangible momentum builder that lives deep down in the very foundations of achievement, it's the oil that keeps the gears from grinding to a halt, it's the sub-conscious voice inside that speaks with silence, in ways more powerful than words. Purpose is the core difference between the athlete that gets up and goes undeniably, and the one that doesn't. If you ask a great athlete what their purpose is, they will almost always be able to tell you.

Purpose is wide ranging and unique, for some athletes it's a mission to leave a legacy for their children, for others, it's building a path of financial freedom for their family. 

"The second thing is INTERNAL PRIDE."

Pride is earned, and in the context of achievement is different to the context of arrogance. For an athlete, pride is most often something unspoken, not emblazoned upon a flag or shouted from a hot air balloon, this is pride that is carried in each footstep and manifested as confidence. Pride is deserved and one of the great builders of self belief, but be wary of the perils of pride, don't get ahead of yourself, let your actions speak way, way louder than your words. 

"The third thing is PASSION."

Passion is referred to as a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards something. Makes sense right? We've all seen the documentaries, watched the highest performing athletes, heard the stories, or felt our own magnetic pull towards the things we love so much, well, if you put that feeling into one word, it's passion. Passion is often referred to as 'burning', take Roger Guillaumin for example, if he was anymore passionate about running he could experience a spontaneous internal combustion. 

Passion is the force that gets a great athlete up every day and keeps them awake most nights.

The inspiring Roger Guillaumin / pic: Adidas Runtastic

"The fourth thing is DRIVE."

Drive is a meal best served daily, it's often garnished with high-expectations and compliments the side dishes above perfectly. Drive takes energy and desire and runs them through the Hadron Collider, super magnetising them into whatever goal direction you point towards. 

It's not uncommon to hear an elite athlete very calmly state that they're "extremely driven" to achieve something, it's that drive that puts them into a sort of high performance autopilot, and is very very inspiring to see in action.

Sounds simple doesn't it, Find your purpose, build your internal pride, do your thing with passion and be driven beyond those you compete with, but of course it isn't, or we'd all be elite athletes. The sauce is far from secret but it is rare to say the least, start by tapping into your truth, seeing your future and draw inspiration from every corner of your day, and before long you'll be leaving your own legacy. 

Produced by Abe Tatester for ActivePlace.


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Published by ActivePlace
on August 25, 2020

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