Improved @ Sports: If sports are something that interests you.
It stands to reason you would want to be good at them.
Succeeding at a sport takes skill, and skill takes patience and determination.
However, there are other things you need to think about if you want to be a good sports player.
Skill alone may take you far, but you’ll never go all the way unless you have the right attitude and team spirit to back it up.
Improved @ Sports
1. Join a sports team.
If you want to become a sports superstar, joining a team is a good way to start. Even if your skills are currently low, joining an amateur league will sharpen up your skills. Sports teams are everywhere, and most of them are free to join. If you go to school, you should go for team tryouts when they’re happening. Recreation centres are often host to sports teams as well.
- If you’re not in school, you can find or start a sports club online.
2. Get a great coach.
Great coaches come in all shapes and sizes. Certain coaching personalities will suit you better than others. The best scenario is having a coach who genuinely wants to see you succeed. In the early stages, enthusiasm is often more helpful than scientific know-how.
- Across the board, communication skills are the most important trait a coach can have.
- There are different levels of sports coach. Most after-school coaches are volunteers with a working knowledge of the sport and enthusiasm for the game. You can hire a sports coach with full training and education, although it will set you back a lot of money.
3. Set your sights wide.
If you want to be truly great at sports, it’s not enough to focus on a couple of sports alone. It is important to set your sights wide with your exercises. Don’t specialize in skills unless you’re already a great athlete. Find ways to train every part of your body. Whether this means playing multiple sports or doing an all-encompassing exercise routine, training your entire body will boost your sports performance.
- There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that athletes are better if they play more than one sport.
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4. Tend to basics first.
It’s a common misgiving for young athletes to want to jump into the advanced stuff quickly. This isn’t an effective way to spend training time. You need a solid bedrock foundation before you move on to bigger things. If you’re new to a sport, take as much time as you need to get the basic movements down properly. It will make advanced skills a lot easier to grasp in the long run.
- Some argue that fundamental “movement skills” (such as jumping and kicking) should be mastered properly before moving on to applied sports skills.
5. Allow room for flexibility.
In an actual competition, things aren’t usually going to play exactly by the books. While you’re practicing, you’ll usually be playing under optimal circumstances. In order to make sure you’ll be up for the unforeseen challenges, you need to predict the conditions of the competition. Ask yourself if you are learning a skill, or if you’re learning to actually use that skill in the competitions you’ll be in.
- Remember this motto: “Train the way you want to play.”
- There’s no way to perfectly replicate a competition in practice, but playing with other people can get you used to the scenarios you’ll need to beware of.
6. Add new levels of challenge as you build a skill.
It is common for bodies to adapt to a level of strain. Progress will slow down if you don’t keep upping the stakes as you go along. Bodybuilders and strength-oriented athletes do this by increasing their reps or the weights they work with. As a competition athlete, the best thing you can do to keep progress going is to practice the skills while under fatigue.
- Studies have shown that skill execution goes out the window when you get tired, so it’s a good idea to build endurance in your sport.
- Building up your speed is important too. Speed usually comes with practice, but you shouldn’t try to rush into speed until you have the basics down pat.
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7. Practice until your skills become second nature.
If you’re wondering at what point a skill becomes mastered, it is when you’re able to do it automatically and without thinking. This is called the autonomous phase, and it’s where you want to be at if you want to play sports competitively. Given enough time and repetition, a skill will eventually fall under this category. When you’re in the fray of a game, you won’t have time to think everything through, so practice until it’s all automatic, so you’ll know you’re ready.
- When you’re playing a sport like football in a competition, you’re going to potentially need to throw a ball while getting chased by several competitors. You can’t replicate this stress in private practice, so you have to make sure your toss is perfected beforehand.
- Keep practicing. Practice is never something that should stop. even if you become great at sports, you can always become better. If you stop practicing, chances are that someone more determined will beat you.
8. Apply for a gym membership.
The best athletes know that training doesn’t stop at sports skills. You want your body to be as sharp as it can be for whatever sport you’re playing. On the downtime away from sports, keep your body in general shape by going to the gym. Although it may seem daunting or expensive, it is absolutely worth the investment if you want to be good at sports. There are lots of benefits to going to a gym. As you’ll know from playing in sports teams, exercising with others is very motivating.
- Do some research into a prospective gym before you pay for a membership. Go for a tour, and ask for details. Make sure the gym fits the circumstances of your life before you make your first payment.
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9. Get enough sleep.
This one should come as obvious, but you might be surprised how often proper sleep is glazed over. This is especially true during times of intense practice or training, where things get so busy it becomes hard to cram everything into a regular day. Nonetheless, your body needs its full rest.
- If you’re a teen, you should sleep 8-10 hours each night. If you’re an adult, get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
10. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Everyone should make a point of eating a diet that benefits their body. This is especially true if you want to be great at sports. Eating junk food will work against whatever efforts you make in the gym. Base your diet on vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, lean proteins, and whole grains. Cut back on “empty calories” (like soda) and replace them with things that improve your health.
- If you’re lactose intolerant, try going without dairy. It may sound hard, but you’ll see benefits within a month.
11. Drink lots of water.
Water cannot be underestimated as part of a healthy diet. Staying hydrated will help you feel mentally and physically your best. Water regulates everything, and you should expect to lose some of your natural hydration via sweat while you exercise.
- The common “8 glasses a day” guideline isn’t mandatory, but you should try to keep water next to you whenever you can. It’s especially important to stock up on water while you’re exercising.
- Keep a refillable bottle of water around with you. Refill it when it goes empty. You’ll find your water consumption goes up a lot if you simply keep it near you.
Improved @ Sports
12. Stay clear of intoxicants.
Drugs and alcohol aren’t recommended if you want to be great at sports. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it drains your body of hydration. Your body will expend resources trying to get rid of the alcohol, and it can have a negative impact on your sports performance for days after the fact.
- In the long run, the amount of calories you digest from alcohol like cider and beer can have a negative impact on your gut.
13. Set ambitious but realistic goals for yourself.
This does not mean being unrealistic, or saying you’re going to go professional within a year. Instead, you should take a look at what you are, and figure out where you think you would like to be. Give yourself a suitable amount of time to achieve that goal, and break it down into smaller parts if the goal is especially big.
- For example, if you do want to go professional, take a look at what the requirements are, and work your way up to each one. You may have to go semi-pro first.
- Rather than focusing on the big picture, focus on the smaller one instead. For example, you could focus on your technique.
14. Be a good sport.
Being good at sports means more than physical strength and speed. In order to be truly great, you need to apply that positive attitude to the way you treat other players, even if they’re on the other team. If you lose a match, accept the loss and show respect to the other player for their victory.
- If you set an example of good sportsmanship, you’ll receive the same respect in turn when you win.
- Treat loss as a learning experience. Figure out what you did wrong, then try to improve it for the next game.
Improved @ Sports
15. Be patient.
No matter what you do, skills are often slow to build. If you’re not patient, you will try to leap into more advanced techniques long before you’re ready. Your motivation will sap away when you don’t see improvement immediately. Keep the long-term goal in mind, and hang tight in the meantime while you make it a reality.
- Remember: there is always going to be someone who can do it better than you, at least at first. Impatient athletes tend to make poor ones.
16. Accept criticism.
When you play sports, you will inevitably receive criticism, and you need to be willing to listen when it’s constructive. Are they angry because you missed a pass, or do they sincerely want to help you improve? Learn to distinguish the constructive criticism from the hurtful remarks. In a lot of cases, you can use criticism as motivation to get better in whatever area they bring up.
- Don’t let yourself get defensive. Your thinking becomes more limited if you allow yourself to become emotional against criticism.
- Keep your ego under control. Even if you think you are the best, be open to constructive criticism.
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17. Nurture friendships with other players.
One of the biggest reasons people join sports teams in the first place is to make friends with new people. If you join a team, you’re bound to run into a lot of people. Chances are you’ll develop friendships with at least some of them. Making these friendships a priority is a good move if you want to become great at sports. You can practice together on your own time. The morale boost of playing with friends helps as well.
- Team sports like soccer can have some skills practiced in solitude, but for others (like goalkeeping and passing) another person is needed. It’s helpful to have this other person as a friend. It’ll make the practice process more enjoyable in the long term.
18. Let yourself have fun.
It’s possible to get so obsessed with being good at something that you lose track of why you want to be good in the first place. Not taking the time to enjoy the sport you play results in a fast burnout. Whether you’re practicing or playing a competition, try to remember the other reasons why you play sports.
- For example, this may include the natural satisfaction you get from exercise, or simply the quality time spent with friends.
19. Get lots of rest the night before game day.
While it is recommended you try to stick to a regular sleeping schedule, it’s especially important to do so the night before a big game. The competition will be stiff enough, so it’s not worth it losing your edge just because you weren’t willing to sleep at least 8 hours.
- If you are having troubles getting to sleep, try some deep breathing exercises or meditating.
Improved @ Sports
20. Load up on carbohydrates prior to a game.
While it wouldn’t be regularly recommended in a diet, athletes should load up on their carbohydrate intake. Carbs essentially give your body energy, and you’ll need lots of energy if you’re playing a sports competition.
- Stay away from sugar for a few hours before a big competition. Sugar and starches dehydrate your body. That is something you want to avoid in the midst of competing.
- Keep yourself up to pace with snacks. Longer matches will be a test of endurance, and something as simple as an energy bar or banana can make a big difference.
21. Warm up.
Warm ups are important for any physically strenuous activity. They can be fairly light, but a proper warm up will help prevent early exhaustion and injury. Aim to warm up around half an hour before the start of the game. Stretch out your arms and legs. Run in place. Work up a bit of a sweat. This will get your body in the right mode for the competition.
- Warm ups also help fight off anxiety. Pre-game anxiety can be an issue for some players, so you should keep that in mind if it’s something you suffer from.
22. Know your competition.
Having a good idea what to expect with the opposing side is important, regardless whether you’re going one on one or playing as a team. If you want to know which techniques you should be using in the midst of certain competitors, it’s a good idea to study their methods in the days and weeks before a big game. If there is any footage of those players during a game, give it a shot.
- The science of analytics turns the respective skills of your teammates and competitors into a sharp formula. Matching each player to their best strengths is integral to a team’s success. Professional sports analysts make it their specific business to analyze the sporting behaviour of athletes.
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23. Stay focused on the game.
You won’t get anywhere if you’re worried about something else happening in your life. Life is always complicated, and there may be things in your personal life that are bothering you. However, at least for the course of the game, you can’t let any of that stuff get to you. It may be easier said than done, but if winning the game means enough to you, it should be a straightforward matter to keep your eyes on the prize.
24. Push yourself further than others are willing to go.
A lot of the best athletes may have had a natural aptitude for it, but the reason they ultimately succeed is because they want victory more than any of the competition. That’s a tricky thing to develop inside yourself, but if the desire is intense enough, you will do just about anything to make your dreams a reality. This broadly applies to the mindset of training, but it’s incredibly important during a competition.
- How much you want to win will have an effect on how far you end up pushing yourself. Sometimes, the distance between winning and losing is very small. A world of difference is made from that added bit of effort.
- Remember, passion is the key to most kinds of success, and the same applies to sports.
Improved @ Sports
25. More tips
Be a student in the game and out. If you’re looking for an edge, watch some of your sport’s greatest athletes at work in videos. If anything, it gives a great inspiration to improve your form.
Everything comes with time. You won’t become great at sports overnight, but if you put a little bit of time into honing your skills each day, you’ll see a huge result in time.
Don’t get jealous of others’ performance. You may think poorly of yourself due to the way you see other players compete, but that’s not going to do anything to help you in the long run. Keep your chin up, and keep your spirits high.