Athlete development or developing athletes, is such an important aspect of sporting performance and success. There is no absolute right or wrong way to do it. Champions from different sports and different countries have shown to get to the top via various different ways. However, I do feel there are key things that do help, and need to be considered and accepted.
Below I highlight what I feel these are from my experience, in no particular order – not including the obvious hard work/talent.
- Environment- Find the right training location for you as an athlete to keep moving forwards and one that provides inspiration.
- Positive Parent/family support– It is important to have a supportive network around you, and not add more pressure.
- Opportunities- Training/racing/camps/travel. Seize the opportunities that you are given. You may not always appreciate it at the time, but you will when you look back in years to come.
- Open Mindset– the ability to be challenged, suffer setbacks, and embrace criticism.
- Key people along their journey- Coaches/training partners/mentors. All of these play a critical part in success. It may be an individual sport but an athlete can’t do it by themselves.
- Consistency- Is King! Keep turning up, day in day out and stay healthy.
- Have Fun- It is hard enough as it is, so if you have fun then it makes the journey that bit easier and more enjoyable.
- A bit of luck – be in the right place at the right time with the right people in place at the time.
- Create memories– At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. Not everyone can be the best, but everyone can take away positive memories for life.
Enjoy the journey while you have the chance and don’t take it for granted.