MENTAL DETERMINATION KEY TO WINNING ATHLETES
Mental determination and not size is the key to becoming a successful athlete, according to a survey of American sports coaches.
The survey of 658 coaches and young athletes were asked to choose five of 128 characteristics that they believed make a winning athlete. The characteristics were divided into half psychological and half physical traits.
The coaches overwhelmingly picked psychological factors over physical characteristics as attributes of a successful a athlete.
The most picked category was 'loves to play', followed by 'positive attitude', 'coachable', 'self motivated', and 'strives to improve'.
The top physical characteristic was 'natural physical athlete', but it only rated 19th most important in the survey.
Other top physical characteristics included 'physically pushes themselves', and 'good eye-hand coordination'.
Criticism and constant negative feedback from coaches were identified as the most damaging factors for a young sports person, followed by excessive pressure.
The researchers noted that the ideal psychological traits of a winning athlete were the same characteristics that were considered important psychological life skills.
The study was presented at the American Psychological Association where it was pointed out that having fun and trying hard made winning athletes.
Lead researcher, Loyola Marymount University professor Shari Kuchenbecker, said many young sports people have negative forces motivating them to succeed in sports such as pleasing parents or becoming part of the 'cool' group, but it was more important for them to develop positive personal skills.