It’s no secret the best athletes are the most disciplined athletes. What is a secret to many is what these athletes do to have a high level of discipline. Through our work with teams across the world, we’ve identified five things disciplined athletes do at a higher level than everyone else.
Commit to the Process
Disciplined athletes recognize nothing great can be accomplished without committing to the process of getting better. They also recognize growth happens in small increments and it’s the small increments over time that produce greatness. The key part is understanding this process takes time. It’s not a one-week or one-month solution. Small growth in many different areas over time, produces the greatness athletes desire.
It is important to identify specific areas where one could improve. For example, getting more sleep will help an athlete increase their rest, recovery, and game-day performance. Our 1% exercise helps athletes identify several areas in their life where increased discipline will produce great results.
Learning how to manage emotions is critical to an athlete’s success. Feelings of anger, frustration, annoyance, and discouragement are natural human emotions. We want our athletes to know they can feel and express these emotions around their team. It’s important they become aware of when and why they are experiencing these emotions. The goal is for athletes to understand these emotions are natural but they can’t live in them.
Disciplined athletes are able to manage negative emotions and prevent feelings of anger, frustration, and annoyance from spreading to their teammates. They develop a level of conviction where they are able to recognize their behavior is not normal, and they develop strategies to run away from negativity quickly. A great way to teach athletes how to manage emotions is through our 40 Red Dash exercise.
Seek Constant Improvement
Odds are you’re probably reading this blog from your smartphone. Despite the amazing technology these devices are created with, they still require regular updates. Similar to the updates on our phones, we need “updates” to ourselves. The majority of athletes aren’t in need of a complete makeover. However, they greatly benefit from small, simple updates on a regular basis.
Athletes with a high level of discipline are able to look within themselves and find areas of self-improvement that would dramatically improve their performance. They seek feedback from teammates and coaches on how to improve. Disciplined athletes cast a vision for what they want to see in the future, and develop a plan to get there. In Lead ‘Em Up we teach this process through the exercise, Software Update.
Become Better Prepared
Athletes with a level of high discipline understand the need to prepare so that when their number is called, they are ready to perform. They don’t rely on others to get them ready, they have the ability to get ready and stay ready. These athletes are also aware of their engagement. They understand the need to lock in during practices so they can perform at their best on game day.
Our athletes’ level of preparation is revealed when the lights come on. Disciplined athletes are ready to shine because they know they’ve put in the work to succeed. Great teams have sustained levels of high success because they are filled with disciplined athletes who are consistently prepared to perform at a high level. Our exercise, Movie Script, is a great resource to teach the importance of preparation.
Look for Leadership Opportunities
Disciplined athletes are constantly looking for leadership opportunities. They realize leadership opportunities are all around them; every single day. Practices present many leadership opportunities for players, but only disciplined athletes look for them. Players who lack discipline will wait for a coach or teammate to address leadership opportunities.
Taking initiative is something that becomes a habit for disciplined athletes. The more an athlete takes initiative, the more their confidence grows. As their confidence grows they will begin seeking out more leadership opportunities and stepping up when those opportunities are present. Our Beat the Coach exercise is an excellent resource to help your athletes look for leadership opportunities.
Remember, the best athletes are the most disciplined athletes.
Have fun and #LeadEmUp