11 Powerful Character Traits of Successful Athletes

bryce love habits of successful athletes
Bryce Love's habits and character traits are what make him on of the most successful athletes in college football.

In order to be successful when it comes to playing sports, you have to have several habits and character traits that will launch you to the top of your competition. Successful athletes from all walks of life understand that the foundation in being successful comes down to controlling three things in life and having great habits alongside those three things that allow them to be productive on a daily basis.

Successful athletes understand that there is a process to becoming a high achiever in life and that in order to stay focused, one must understand that their journey will be different than everyone else’s.

Studies show that successful athletes, which are just successful people in a certain field, share a lot of common traits. For example, more than 90% of them are able to manage their emotions by having a high level of emotional intelligence. Author Travis Bradberry talks about the importance of emotional intelligence and how to develop it daily in his book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (You can pick it up for free with a 30-day free Audible trial).

High EQs allow them to stay focused, be productive throughout the day and have the necessary grit in order to push forward through adversity. However, along with a High EQ, successful athletes commonly share simple habits that lay the foundation for their success in athletics, academics, and in life in general.

That’s why you see so many of them become successful businesspeople, spouses, and parents.  Their success is directly from the habitual blueprint they formed at an early age to allow them to be productive and develop grit. Here are 10 easy habits that successful athletes have in common to launch them to the top of their game.

1. Successful athletes have composure.

Successful athletes have composure because they understand that playing on an even keel is what allows you to perform at your best.  If your emotions are volatile, your game will be too. They understand that there are ups and downs with playing the game, and they keep their focus no matter how great or how terrible they are playing. When things don’t go well, they are calm, content, and understand that adversity comes and goes.

2. Successful athletes are knowledgeable.

Successful athletes are just smart athletes. You rarely find an athlete that is really successful that lacks knowledge for the game.  That doesn’t mean that they have a high GPA – there are a ton of athletes out there that are smart students and don’t understand the game that they’re playing.

Successful athletes are always looking to grow, learn the nuances of the game, and teach themselves how to optimize their performance.  They have a thirst for knowledge of the game and its practices because its their passion.  They’re always looking to learn new things about themselves and soak up anything they can from people who know more about the game than they do.

3. Successful athletes practice deliberately. 

Ultra-successful athletes reach their success by practicing with a deliberate purpose. They understand that in order to perform a skill at the highest level, they must practice it until they master it. They understand that their time in the gym is limited, so they lift weights and develop strength in the areas that will benefit their game.

When they get to practice, successful athletes waste no time getting right into their routine and practice with mindfulness.  They don’t zone out or go through the motions.  Instead, successful athletes focus on the mechanics, feel, and repetition of developing new skills in order to become an elite athlete.

Related: Top 10 Things That Mentally Tough Athletes Do Every Day

4. Successful athletes have great body language.

It’s rare to see a really successful athlete that is unsure of themselves and the ability that they have to play the game.  Successful athletes project their inner confidence through their body language in a positive manner.  The way that they walk, the way that they talk, the way that they stand around – its always in a positive posture. No slouching, no sulking or rounded off shoulder.

When you have positive body language, you bring energy to the team instead of take it away.  Other great body language traits that you can use are using an enthusiastic tone of speech, standing with your hands on your hips in a “power position”, maintaining eye contact when people speak to you, and hustling with enthusiasm wherever you have to be.

5. Successful athletes leave a strong first impression.

Why are first impressions so important to successful athletes? Well, its because you only get one of them.  Every time you meet a new coach, scout, or teammate, they are going to make their mind up about you within the first 7 seconds of meeting you.  After that is done, then they will spend the rest of the conversation feeling you out.  They’re trying to gauge whether or not you’re the type of athlete that they want to be around or have around.

Although this sounds intimidating, you need to know that you have an advantage just by understanding this.  Now, you can take the necessary steps to ensure that you leave a good first impression. And remember, the first impression that you leave is tied directly to your body language.  Have your shoulders back, maintain eye contact, and most of all listen to what they’re saying and don’t let your mind wander.

6. Successful athletes achieve small victories – daily.

Successful people like to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield only small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases the confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you achieve a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

7. Successful athletes are fearless.

Fear isn’t anything tangible. It’s just an emotional feeling that is created by your subconscious mind. Fear is a choice. And, successful athletes block that choice from entering their minds. They understand that all fear does is temporarily motivate athletes to take action.  Once the fear subsides, you need to have something else that drives you to move forward.

High performing athletes know that fear is worthless, so instead of being scared from it, they embrace it. They see uncertainty as a challenge and they decide to commit to conquering any doubts or fears that they have in their mind. How do they do it?  The deliberately practice and prepare so that they have confidence in themselves to perform when they get their opportunity.

8. Successful athletes have integrity and honesty.

If you want to make it to the top, you have to be honest and straightforward.  You have to tell it like it is to your teammates, listen to your coaches, and understand that you are the master of your domain. That means being honest with everyone around you, including yourself. And especially, don’t lie to yourself.  Successful athletes realize that they have to be honest with themselves and correct their habits and behavior whenever they’re facing adversity.

In order to make it to the top, you have to have integrity too.  That means putting an honest effort in day-in and day-out. That means never making excuses or explanations for your short comings.  And, it means that you always fall in line to your coaches – even if you agree with them or not.

9. Successful athletes are punctual.

Super-successful athletes understand that in order to get what you want out of the game, you have to give it twice as much. And, you can’t put in the time if you’re never on time.  There is no reason for an athlete to show up late for any team function, period. If you’re 5 minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late. Understand that.

If you’re showing up on time, you’re 15 minutes late. Be punctual in everything you do.  It shows everyone around you from your coaches to your teammates to the training staff that you’re serious about what you do.  People respect that and become motivated by that.  If you’re late, the only person that you have to blame is yourself.

10. Successful athletes lead by example.

Ultra successful athletes know that being a cheerleader is a bunch of nonsense.  The best players aren’t the ones jumping up and down on the sidelines.  They’re the ones with focus.   They’re the ones that are relentless, itching to get back in the game.  They want to go out and compete because winning is all that they want in life.

Successful athletes don’t talk the talk. They walk the walk.  They don’t talk about effort, they show it. They don’t talk about execution – they execute. And, they don’t try to motivate their teammates with their words – they motivate them with their actions.

11. They’re appreciative.

The most successful athletes are always humble. They’re appreciative of what they have currently and where they came from. They don’t complain about equipment, facilities, amenities, or people in their lives.  They’re appreciative for the opportunity to play the game.

You can always have it much worse than you currently do, and successful athletes always remember that. Your grit, motivation, and drive comes from your ability to focus on what you appreciate in your life. Don’t find a way to make an excuse or criticize, find a way to be happy and appreciative for what you have in life. It takes just as much energy to find the positives as it does to find the negatives.