If you are serious about your athletic performance as part of a team, developing habits which will make you a good player are something you have most likely thought a lot about. However, there is a lot more to being a good player than simple athletic skill and a determination to win. Learning how to develop a good mental attitude towards the game and a well-rounded approach to athletics in general will make you a better player and, even more importantly, a role model within your team which can help you lead them to victory.

If you look at the top players, it is tempting to see only the ones who stand out because of their individual performances. Many of the top athletes who are getting big contracts and attracting media attention tend to be the goal scorers, the ones who get the most touchdowns, baskets or goals. But what you may not realize is that it is the team players who work well as a unit who get the ball or the puck to where it needs to be to score. Working as a team is important because without learning to think and act as one and read each other’s signals and cues you will simply be unable to function and you will find yourself losing again and again.

The most successful athletes are the ones who work the hardest and the smartest. They keep up their training routines and schedules even in the off season and do not do things which jeopardize their health or their reputation. They do everything in moderation except train. They approach their training with single minded determination and work hard to constantly improve on their skills and abilities. Everyone knows the person who spends hours shooting baskets, practicing their dribble or their ball handling. Those are the players who excel at their games and which will get ahead in the long run.

If you get in the habit of training smarter you can often improve your performance at a much faster rate. It may be tempting to take a day off here and there but remember that if you are not training consistently you cannot hope to improve. It is also important for you to record your workouts and practices so that you can see your progression. This record keeping is one of the secrets that top athletes use to improve their performance as quickly as they can. If you get in the habit of keeping records of the time you take to run a certain distance, the weight you are lifting and the number of sets or reps you are doing you can see what areas need to be improved and you can work to strengthen those areas.

You also need to set goals. This can and should go hand in hand with your habit of keeping workout records. If you have a specific goal such as improving the number of baskets you can sink from the three point line or a more generalized goal such as being able to shorten the amount of time it takes for you to sprint a certain distance or the amount of weight you can leg or bench press, you should make sure you are writing these goals down since they give you something to work towards.

If you train hard and consistently, learn to read your team and use each player to their best advantage you will find that you rapidly develop a well-deserved reputation for being a good player.

Which habits have made you an outstanding athlete or coach?

Picture credit: Vadim LavrusikCreative Commons Attribution