I have been coaching High School aged athletes for 13 years now. In that time I have had the amazing opportunity to work with thousands of very motivated young men and women. In my time as a coach there has been some very consistent trends I see with those who succeed in reaching their athletic goals and those who don’t.
Just to be clear, everyone has different goals. Some athletes I coach want to earn a Division 1 scholarship and some simply want to crack the starting lineup their senior year. Regardless of the scale of their ambitions, there are 5 consistent themes I see in each of the athletes that actually reach their goals.
So here’s the deal, I am going to break each of the 5 goals down and go into detail about why they are important. Also, I am listing them in their order of importance when we are looking at how they transmit to athletic success.
The 5 Keys for Athletic Success are:
- Great athletes don’t stop training when their season starts
- Goals are well defined and they have a plan to achieve them
- Consistency and frequency of training is important to them
- Academics are always taken care of
- They take their sleep and nutrition seriously
Now, let’s do a quick dive into each of the 5 Keys for Athletic Success…
1: Great athletes don’t stop training when their season starts:
I have this at #1 because of the impact it takes on the athletes progress they made during the off-season. You work all off-season to improve your athletic ability but the second the season begins you shut down your physical development. Strength gains begin to decrease within a few weeks and over the course of a long season you could find yourself back a square one again.
Not only does this kill your progress it also puts you in a detrained state when it matters most. At the end of the season when you should be fighting for a conference title or in the playoffs the reality is you are physically weak. What you truly need is a smart plan that allows you to continue to make progress without impacting your on-field or on-court performance.
2: Goals are well defined and they have a plan to achieve them:
Without specific goals you don’t know where you are headed. Once you have defined your goals you can begin to build out a road map to achieve them. Not to mention, goals are what keep you motivated on days when you don’t want to train and trust me there will be days when you don’t want to go to the gym.
Every athlete should have some goals that light their fire. They need to be specific to the individual and have well defined action items that help the athlete navigate how they will reach their specific goals.
3: Consistency and frequency of training is important to them:
Momentum is important. However, maintaining that momentum through the entire calendar year is vital. Training hard for a few weeks and then taking a week off does not work if you have big goals. Strength training is built around a principal called ‘Progressive Overload’. This essentially means that in order to see gains in strength you must train on a set program consistently over a long period of time in order for the program to work.
In addition, having a high training frequency is also important. Training only 1 or 2 days per week makes it extremely hard to see great progress in your physical development. In order to see true and lasting results each movement and muscle group needs to be trained much more frequently than once per week.
4: Academics are always taken care of:
Would it surprise you if I told you that I have more athletes with a 3.5 GPA or higher than I do athletes who are below 3.5? That’s pretty damn good. The thing of it is that kids who are motivated to be great in one area are typically great in all areas. Not to mention, they understand that poor academics can cause them to lose out on opportunities they had worked very hard for
There is a trend that the kids who miss lifts or are inconsistent with their training are also the athletes who struggle academically. Funny how that works.
“How you do one thing is how you do all things”
5: They take their sleep and nutrition seriously:
Athletes who have the 4 traits listed above tend to get the whole picture of how they need to prepare themselves. This goes for their quality of sleep and their nutrition as well. Now, getting an athlete to eat better is MUCH easier that getting them to put their phone off before bed.
The athletes who understand that their recovery is just as important as their training are always the ones who see the most physical changes. It’s really simple, by getting optimal recovery and nutrition they are optimized to train, practice, and compete.
So, there you have it. The 5 Keys for Athletic Success that we see with our athletes.
Now, ask yourself this…
Do you exhibit these 5 traits? If not, what changes can you make in your life in order to implement them? I guarantee once you start trying to implement them you will see a snowball effect across the board in every facet of your life.
Remember, your current situation does not dictate your future reality. So, assess where you are at now and make a plan to get where you want to go!