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Sport Today

Everyone wants to win, to be great, and to be celebrated. But not everyone ever gets there. Maybe some people are lucky. Take the case of Steven Bradbury, who won Australia’s first gold in the winter Olympics of 2002.

Our guy was well behind his four competitors during the last lap on the short track speed skating rink. And then everyone else crashed allowing him to easily take the gold medal. But it takes more than luck to be a great sportsperson.

The following are 5 tips to be a better athlete, even if you don’t want to go professional.

1. Understand Yourself and Where You Want to Go

Without knowing yourself, it is hard to make progress. Begin by doing an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and put them down. It might be important to involve your coach here because they can provide you with honest and unbiased feedback. They also have a good understanding of your form, style and possibly the limitations that you have.

Having an awareness of these things will put you in touch with reality and will put into perspective what needs to be done. From here, you will need to set tangible goals and come up with a realistic action plan.

For example, if you are a football player, you might want to increase your shot accuracy from 50% to 80%. Your action plan might be to dedicate one more hour of practice every day.

2. Practice on Your Own

Andre Agassi, a former world number 1 and an 8 Grand Slam winner put it simply that “If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win”. If you play a game such as tennis, you might be tempted to be content with practice sessions with the coach.

But you must make personal effort if you really want to be great. Training on your own gives you the space to get good at a skill without feeling pressured or rushed. This is not possible when practising at an institutional court.

If you are serious about getting good at the game and have some space in your backyard, consider installing a tennis court. As long as you have a partner, you can practice any day, any time you want.

3. Build Your Confidence

It’s a no brainer. If you aren’t confident enough, you aren’t going to be great. Simply put, confidence is the belief in your own ability to do something. But more than that, it is an acceptance of self regardless of shortcomings. If you are confident, you will be able to focus on what matters without being distracted by other people’s opinions.

Unfortunately, confidence isn’t something that can be taught in a class or in the locker room. You have to build it. Luckily, this isn’t very hard to do. The secret is to practice as much as possible. As you get better, so does your confidence.

4. Be Proud of Your Team

We can change who we are, but we can’t change other people. It is also not always easy to deal with different personalities on a regular basis but being in a team demands putting aside our feelings and accepting everyone as they are.

It is also important to understand that you have your own shortcomings and you aren’t better than anyone else. If you view things in this perspective, it will be easier to accept other people’s flaws.

Celebrate diversity and cultivate team spirit and camaraderie, and even take it to a whole new level by having custom hoodies with your team's own emblem akin to the pros. Get to know other people outside the pitch and make friends with everyone. Team parties are always a welcome idea.

5. Understand the Game

It isn’t difficult to master kicking a ball, dunking, bowling etc. But that isn’t enough. You must see the bigger picture. For example, how your role connects to other roles, even in games that seem different. For example, even though football and basketball are different, they have their similarities, and some strategies can be transferred across both games.

You do not have to take a sports science course to understand tactical theory or other technicalities of your favourite game. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt, but you could gather a lot of insights from reading books and magazines, listening to expert coaches, or sitting at the feet of successful sportspeople.

You Can Do it

Whether you are playing in the college team, or are a professional looking for greatness, have faith that you can find it. But the truth is that there are no shortcuts. You must be focused and be ready to put in work.

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