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What it takes to be a "Champion"

Updated: May 2, 2022

Can you be the best? Is Usain Bolt the faster runner, Lewis Hamilton the greatest ever driver, Michal Jordan the best ever sportsman, and what would you say about Tom Brady? These are very open-ended questions but let’s look at the process and what it takes to be the best. Then you can decide if you indeed can be the best.


  • Talent

You have to have a talent at something you want to be the best in the world at. Ok, let me rephrase that, you can be the best that you can be. It does not necessarily mean you will be the best in the world at it. Let’s talk about performance and rate it out of 10 (10 being the best level of performance like some of the names mentioned). So just on your talent, you should perform to about a 6 with no training. (Let’s say that an average is about a performance of 4) I believe that if you can perform at a six, then this is a talent. Most people will average about a four; then this is your talent. But it is still not enough to get you to a performance of 10. You need to increase/add to your talent, and you do this by training.


  • Training

To increase your performance to a very high level you need to train, and you need to be very disciplined, you need to Eat, Sleep and Train right and be dedicated to your performance. You will need to give up a lot of everyday things to be an elite athlete. Just because you have trained hard and correctly, still does not put your performance close to a ten yet. Remember, this is increasing your performance but not your talent.


  • Opportunity

Now if you have the talent and you have trained what you still need is the opportunity to showcase your performance and still to get better. You need to be able to show you're performing in front of many people. Ok so I will talk about athletes like Mr Bolt or Mr Jordan, they needed to be in the public eye and perform. This comes with some pressure maybe even anxiety which is a very natural feeling, but it is something that you have to adapt to. Now you need to directly compete with others that are as dedicated, and in shape as you, maybe even better than you. If you have talent, then this will bring out your true performance (if you are already at the maximum output according to your talent then this already is your best performance). Let me explain what I mean.


There are millions of people that had the talent, trained, and then got the opportunity, but for some reason, the expected performance was not there at the time. How many footballers had trailed for a professional team, and just did not make it? Why? Because the performance was not there on the day. It could have been due to injury, the first time in such a competitive environment, emotional stress, but just was not enough. Do such people then give up and be a Salesman or something like that? Many people have done this, and their lives have taken on a different professional direction.


  • Motivated and self-belief

Some others will not quit; they will work harder, longer and try and try again till they succeed. To succeed, you need to have a different mindset. You need to have strong self-belief. An example of this is Mo Salah he was bought by Chelsea where he played for a while. I am a Chelsea supporter, and I will say that he was average at best, absolutely nothing special. He was then sold to Roma where he was much better eventually being bought by Liverpool, the last season I would say he was one of the best in the premier league. So, what happened to make him successful? I can tell you he worked harder and longer, added this to his existing talent AND he was motivated and believed in himself. This is key, and you need to believe in yourself and your ability. This will motivate you to do better. But remember that not every story is one of success.


Do you have to be the best physical athlete to be the best performer?

Does it matter how tall you are, how high you can jump, how fast you can run over a short period, how far a quarterback can throw a ball? Are these attributes vital or beneficial? (Generally speaking) The answer is a resounding NO; they are helpful, don’t get me wrong, it does help to be a better athlete, but in a game situation, many other things come into play, like reading a defence, seeing an opening, reading movement, creating scoring plays, getting into open spaces. Some of these are done mentally.


Physically jumping 4 feet high from a standstill will not increase your ability to mentally read a defence better. Reading a defence is actually a talent that you have, or you don’t. Steph curry & Michal Jordan were both said to be too short. Tom Brady, he was not recognised as an excellent all-around athlete, he wasn't even average. He was slow, didn’t have the best throw, skinny in stature, and basically, he was overlooked because of his measurable athletic performances. Many specialists analysed him and decided to go with someone else.


In the draft, he was picked at number 199. So there were another six quarterbacks chosen before him. This shows that many people did not believe in him or his ability. New England Patriots let him go at the end of last year, I have to think that they too believed that his time was done. But he went to Tampa Bay Buccs, and today he is a champion for the seventh time. They did not measure the one thing that made him a champion - his heart and no athletic drills will show you this.

What about the "Rumble in the Jungle" pitted two men against each other in Zaire. The champion George Foreman against the former and older champ Muhammad Ali. George Foreman was younger, taller, stronger and he was the current champion. So did the better athlete win the fight? The answer is NO. Muhammad Ali won the fight using a technique called "the rope-a-dope". Even if you don't know what that means Ali won on his chosen strategy, even though he was the older, shorter less powerful challenger.


Morel of the story is, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t, or you will never achieve your goals no matter what they are. You need to follow your own dreams with your own beliefs, and if you have the talent and you train and get the opportunity, you will hopefully perform at the desired level and have your name up in lights.

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