Young, let's say, 15-year-old athletes are in a great stage in life where they have already developed physically, mentally, and emotionally and still have great potential left.
It is an excellent age to develop an understanding and appreciation for the potential that is left. Not to see it as a gap but as an opportunity! I do repeat myself with this throughout my blog posts, and I am fine with doing so. I want to make sure that all athletes, not only young ones, know that a gap is normal, and if there would not be a gap, there wouldn't be room to improve. This means everyone who wants to improve needs to have a gap and potential.
How to work consciously on potential? Athletes and their coaches want to discover the gaps more specifically. “I want to get better” doesn´t do as much as intentional action. Here are seven tips on how and where to find potential to improve performance. I am linking to articles that would allow you to dive deeper into the every point, or choose the one, that triggers the most.
- Including different sports: Even athletes that specialize and are interested in a particular sport want to have diverse training. It's essential to mix in other sports that require different physical attributes such as speed, agility, or endurance. Trying out different sports can help you identify not only the potential in some areas. Also, the areas an athlete is very gifted or already developed show up. Both are great to know. When is it Time to Get Serious
- Setting measurable goals and knowing the starting point: Setting any goal and reaching it also requires knowing the starting point. That difference is the potential. A goal without being honest about the current ability is missing one end for a clear picture. Knowing the full gap also helps to adjust the goal if needed. It wants to be realistic-ambitious. ;)
- Practicing consistency (or patience): Filling ambitious gaps is not done in one session, but every session counts to reach the potential step by step. This process takes patients, which is easier to accept when knowing how long it might take to work consistently filling the gap. Even if not seeing big steps at once, regular practice and sticking to a plan will lead to results in the long run. This kind of practice develops not only physical skills but also mental aspects such as focus, concentration, and confidence. Consistency A Key to Success
- Seek guidance: Seeking guidance from coaches, trainers, and experienced athletes is a great way to stay motivated and efficient in the process. Knowing about the potential to uncover is one thing. Getting guided on how to close the gap is the other piece of the puzzle. It takes experience and often adjustments to stay on track. Taking advantage of valuable feedback might be the key to success. The Best Athletes are Coachable
- Implementing everyday-life: Nutrition, rest, sleep, and everything else besides the actual training sessions also has a big influence on filling gaps between the current situation and the desired athletic goal. All those aspects shouldn't feel heavy, exhausting, or like a strict schedule day in and day out. I just want to make the point that there might be lots of potential to improve performance that is not directly related to the actual training sessions. Nutrition awareness
- Learn from mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes. Those are helpers on the way to success. The key is to learn from those mistakes and use them to improve performance. There is no reason to get discouraged by setbacks. Using them as an opportunity to grow and improve might be the best experience a young athlete can have to level up. Struggling Exists
- Staying motivated: Staying motivated can be the potential itself. Being interested in how to overcome a challenge, especially when facing setbacks or obstacles, makes athletes resilient in moments of doubt. It comes back to having a clear goal, a deep desire to reach that goal, and an idea of how to get there. Parents, coaches, or teammates can be helpful, but a desire and motivation has to come from the athlete themself. At the moment, motivation is missing, there is one question an athlete can answer for themself: What is it that the athlete doesn't want to happen? Usually, this helps to get in action to avoid what's not wanted. Taking Ownership Part 1- Taking Ownership Part 2
Those are seven areas where potential might be waiting. Which area offers the most depends on the athlete and the next goal. Picking ONE area, making a plan, and taking the steps will unfold athletic potential.
Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)
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