What Makes a Great Athlete

All athletes share a wide range of characteristics that allow them to excel in their sport of choice. However, there are certain characteristics that distinguish the great athletes from the okay ones. When it comes to being great at sports, there’s a lot more to it than just talent. To be a great athlete, you’ve got to have the whole package. You have to be good at your sport, you have to be coachable, you have to possess certain qualities, and you have to have passion for the game. These are just a few of the traits that high-performing athletes possess. Keep reading to find out exactly what makes a great athlete.

Team leader

Great athletes know that they are not only a part of a team, but they know that they play a valuable role. More often than not, the best players are captains or team leaders, and they have to move as such. It is important to walk, talk, and act like a leader. Be someone that the other players can look up to and someone that they can come to whenever they need direction or advice. Since the best athletes are usually natural born leaders, on and off the field, they’re known for being able to bring out the best in their team and those people around them.

Girl running on indoor track
Girl running on indoor track


A great athlete is motivated by more than money, trophies, medals, or fans. High-performing athletes wake up everyday, motivated to be the best they can be. They don’t wait around for their coaches, teammates, friends or family members to tell them to practice, train, or work out. They do it on their own. They’re motivated because of how much they love their sport and always want to succeed at it. The willingness to practice everyday, for long periods of time shows just how dedicated and determined they truly are. If you want to be the best athlete possible, you have to motivate yourself to do what needs to be done, without anyone telling you what to do.


Being self-disciplined enough to put your sport first, no matter what, is a very important trait to have. Great athletes have a lot of self-discipline. They eat, sleep, and breathe their sport no matter what they have to endure. Whether they are waking up at the crack of dawn for practice, going to bed at night with sore muscles, getting hurt, or making sacrifices to attend every game, they know that that’s what it takes in order to succeed at their sport. Great athletes wouldn’t accomplish half of these things if they didn’t have a ton of self-discipline.

Willing to practice

It’s imperative for any athlete to make time to hone their skill set. The only way to be the best and stay on top of your game is to practice, practice, and practice some more after that. Even the pros never get complacent with practicing and playing. Great athletes are willing to practice for hours at a time, in rain, sleet, or snow to perfect their skill. No matter what it is you’re trying to master, whether it’s a game of checkers, volleyball, basketball or sky vegas blackjack, you must always practice to improve your skills, so that you can be the best you can possibly be.

Ability to handle stress

Stress has a way of taking a toll on anyone, but athletes deal with an immense amount of pressure regularly. Great athletes are not easily frustrated when things go wrong, when they fail, or lose. They’re able to handle stress really well. They’re able to practice and play the game well under pressure and stress. They don’t allow the stresses from home or life in general to interfere with their game. They understand that when they’re out on the field or court, that is where their mind needs to be at that moment, and they’re able to let go of all stress, worry, and fear, and just play.

Being resilient

Athletes are going to experience losses and setbacks, no matter what. However, it’s an athlete’s resilience that sets them apart from everyone else. Great athletes are able to bounce back from losses or disappointments and keep moving forward. They take setbacks and use them as learning experiences, so that they know what not to do next time.

Man with weights
Man with weights

Fit all around

Great athletes are physically fit since they train and play hard. Being physically fit comes from exercising and eating right. High-performing athletes understand that if they want to perform well, they must also eat well. Not only are these athletes physically fit, but they’re emotionally fit as well. They keep a clear, level head, and they don’t allow anxiety or their emotions to affect their energy and attention. They also understand that they must remain focused at all times, and eating healthy, regular exercise, and limiting distractions can really help improve focus.

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