December 21, 2010 cburnham

The X Factor

An athlete asked me yesterday what qualities separate good athletes from great athletes. All else being equal, what is the “X factor” that allows some athletes to get better results than others? Is it super special silver, black, and red shiny pants? Nope.

You have got to have meaningful goals that keep you motivated but more than anything a great athlete is accountable. They are not accountable to any teammate, coach, friend, or anybody else. They are accountable to themselves. They don’t make excuses. Period. If they have a bad workout they say “Yep, I sucked today!” You will never hear a great athlete say “I had a bad hair today so I couldn’t get my head in the game.” They know that it is their responsibility to get everything in order to give themselves the opportunity to have a great workout. If that means getting the hair situation under control, then they get the hair situation under control. There is no blame, no excuses, they just take care of business to give them the best opportunity to meet their goals

That doesn’t mean great athletes never miss workouts, they do. Life’s other responsibilities get in the way at times but they do their best to make time for their workout. If they are traveling they hit the hotel gym, bring their TRX to do a workout in their room, or get in a short run. If they need to work late, they get their workout done in the morning. If they just can’t get in a workout at all through out the day they adjust their training schedule accordingly to make sure they are getting the amount of quality work they need to reach their goals. This is where a coach can come in handy and help an athlete think outside the box. There are many ways to achieving your goals!

One other important X factor of great athletes is resiliency. Great athletes have bad workouts or races but they don’t dwell on the results. They learn what they can from their performance and move on. It doesn’t define them as an athlete. It doesn’t shut them down. They use it to make them stronger. Setbacks can be a great opportunity to learn and get better. Use everything you can to your advantage.  Make 2011 great!

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