Common Traits of Successful Athletes

December 28, 2020

Fredericton, NB / Ottawa, ON (December 28, 2020) -- What does it take to achieve greatness at the highest level of a sport?

How do certain athletes elevate themselves even above their peer world-class competitors?

Let’s look at four overarching traits and work backwards in examining why they make sense in answering these questions.

Inner Drive – At the heart of any great athlete is a distinct and obvious motivation to succeed and become better. This driving force pushes athletes onwards for reasons unrelated to material awards, fame, or recognition. Inside, they possess an ever-burning fire to improve and attain better results. Hall of Fame NCAA coach John Wooden once said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Internally motivated athletes work hard regardless of the circumstances and therefore have a significant advantage over those who don’t.

Self-confidence – While many athletes possess a strong inner drive, few possess the type of self-confidence we have seen in competitors such as Kobe Bryant and Muhammad Ali. In situations typically described as “high-stress,” throughout their respective careers, both of these athletes proved unshakable. From the day Kobe Bryant stepped onto an NBA court back in 1996, he never once shied away from the big moment. Rather, Bryant cherished these opportunities saying, “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.” Ali possessed a similar demeanor, always backing his abilities no matter the situation. The idea of losing was never an option in his mind.

Humility – Professional sports are filled with big names and big egos. Those who separate themselves from the pack often possess the quality of humility. All-time NFL great, Peyton Manning, is a phenomenal example of a professional athlete who never failed to display humility. Even as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Manning constantly praised his teammates, took responsibility for losses, and let his play on the field do the talking. Reaching the highest level of any sport requires the ability to accept criticism and learn from previous mistakes. In addition to being full of self-confidence, Muhammad Ali also displayed tremendous humility. A great quote from the boxing star reads, “I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.”

Killer Instinct – The rarest of these four traits is that of killer instinct. This quality has to do with a natural feel for the game and ability to understand circumstances quicker and on another level than other athletes. Certain plays in sports history have showcased players who possess such instinct. Examples include Ray Allen’s game tying three-pointer in the 2013 NBA Finals, Dan Marino’s fake spike touchdown pass with time running down versus the Jets, and Christian Laettner’s miracle turnaround game winner versus Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Athletes who possess above average ability in these four areas have a significant advantage when it comes to being successful in their respective sports. Scouts are tasked with the difficult job of evaluating hundreds, even thousands of players in these and many other areas. Certain traits can only be seen in competition, while others may be assessed through analyzing conversations and behaviors. As technology continues to evolve, more and more tactics are being created to help scouts in the assessment of athletes.

Avrij Analytics is currently at the forefront of this push for new technology. Their AI enabled player evaluation platform is already being used by a number of forward-thinking professional sports franchises within their respective scouting departments. Avrij and their clients are confident that these latest breakthroughs in mindset similarity analysis are and will continue to give partnering organizations a competitive advantage over the field.

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