4 Keys to Success in Sports

Success in sports is the goal all athletes want to reach. Although achieving it depends on many factors, a positive and proactive attitude is the first necessary step.
4 Keys to Success in Sports

Last update: 23 September, 2020

The main goal of any athlete is to be successful throughout their career. Although each one has their perspective on what it takes, they all agree that the main goal is success in sports.

There’s no mathematical formula for success. As publications by experts in psychology indicate, it’s a combination of personal and environmental factors. In addition, it’s impossible to measure the contribution of each factor. Nevertheless, a few common keys characterize successful athletes.

Success in sports is related to professional sports and high performance. However, it isn’t enough to become a pro. In fact, you can’t lower your level. Many athletes managed to get to the top but, because they didn’t know how to handle their success, they weren’t able to maintain their level and ended up quitting.

Four keys to success in sports

Although most athletes probably won’t go pro, that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful at their level of performance. Therefore, below, we’ll share some keys to help you achieve that desired goal.

1. See yourself as a winner

The first step to success in sports is imagining yourself as a winner. Visualization is an effective technique that can help you achieve this. This technique consists of imagining specific situations of success with as much realism as possible, such as winning an important competition or acquiring complex skills.

The continuous practice of visualization, in which various investigations, such as this one published by The Sport Psychologist, analyze, influence an athlete’s thoughts and perceptions.

A self-confident athlete.

If the person perceives themselves as successful, they’re more likely to act accordingly. In the end, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are reflected in the way they act and behave.

2. Copy the good habits of successful athletes

The athletes who’ve achieved success simply weren’t “lucky”. Their success is a combination of habits and a healthy lifestyle they’ve maintained for years.

Professional athletes not only train to the end of their abilities. In fact, they also watch their diets, sleep, hobbies, and social relationships. Their idea of success comes from conceiving sports performance as a whole. They not only take training moments into account, but everything that directly influences health.

Copying the good habits of athletes also includes imitating their way of overcoming obstacles. Despite defeat, professional athletes always look ahead and aren’t intimidated by adversity.

3. Establish action plans to ensure success in sports

Achieving success is a big goal that requires establishing concrete and comprehensive steps. You can consider those small steps as rungs on a ladder that you have to climb one by one until you reach your ultimate goal: success in sports.

Many athletes fail to reach the top because they’re unable to establish concrete action plans. They know exactly what they want to achieve but they don’t know how, and that indecision prevents them from getting started.

Goal setting is an effective technique for establishing concrete goals. Thanks to this tool, it’s possible to materialize intentions into specific actions and maximizing your chances of achieving everything you set out for yourself.

4. Success in sports: control the thoughts that hold you back

Although success is a highly coveted goal, it’s completely normal for you to feel overwhelmed and have doubts about your own worth. However, doubts and negative thoughts hinder progress.

Changing your thoughts and adopting an optimistic mindset isn’t easy, since most negative thoughts are deeply rooted in the mind. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

A sad tennis player.

Changing your mindset requires constant and daily work on how to think and react to events. Sometimes, it takes some outside help to realize the consequences of negative thoughts and how to change them.

Enjoy reaching your goals but the journey as well

All athletes have success in sports in mind, but few enjoy the journey of achieving it. For example, the good and bad moments of competitions, the tireless hours of training, and pep talks with coaches and teammates.

Although it’s important to fully understand what you want to achieve, it’s even more important to avoid obsessing over it or being impatient. You can’t achieve big goals overnight. Remember that they require time and dedication. Meanwhile, simply enjoy each moment and work hard every day toward your goals.

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  • Álvarez, O., Estevan, I., Falcó, C., Hernández-Mendo, A., y Castillo, I. (2014). Perfil de habilidades psicológicas en taekwondistas universitarios y su relación con el éxito en competición. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 14(3), 13-20.
  • Martin, K. A., Moritz, S. E., y Hall, C. R. (1999). Imagery use in sport: A literature review and applied model. The sport psychologist, 13(3), 245-268.