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By Quincy Martel, MA, Life Coach
As long as I can remember, I was exposed to as many sports as my parents could possibly afford…even ballet. My sport growing up was tennis because my whole family participated in the sport. I recall hours after hours of hitting tennis balls with my dad and grandfather not to mention the stable and consistent back board. Early on, I chased more balls early on than hit. Eventually time came to pass and my discipline and hard work paid off. I was awarded a tennis scholarship at Stetson University. I am not playing as much tennis as I used to, but like most athletes I picked up a new sport. I have run many triathlons, marathons and ultramarathons. As an athlete, I find the major competitor that I face is my mind and my own thought process. Constantly, I have to accept in an internal dialogue that no matter what the outcome and am going to enjoy the process and be positive to all of whom I come in contact with. My grandfather and father’s hard work and teaching me to be a good sport has paid off and has shaped and molded me into the multifaceted person, goal oriented that I am today.
Similar to my personal testimony, at a young age, children are exposed to little leagues, peewee soccer and football track, ballet gymnastics and other sports not listed. Even at a young age tendencies and personality are being shaped and molded into adulthood. A wise saying once said that a child’s success or lack of success does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate mentally tough, resilient and tries their best is a direct reflection of your parenting. Therefore, the young athlete personality, even though inherent and is shaped and molded by environmental factors.
This athlete personality, which is molded and shaped at an early age into adulthood, is associated with drive, aggression, determination, coachability, responsibility, self-confidence, leadership, emotional control, perseverance, mental toughness, conscience,
and trust. These athletes differ from the rest (non athletes) on many personality traits. Some of those traits are that athletes who participate on a team or in individual sports tend to be more independent, objective and less anxious. More athletes are above average IQ than non athletes which dispels the myth of the dumb jock. Athletes are good leaders, managers and entrepreneurs. Other positive assets are that athletes tend to be very disciplined, organized, goal oriented and hard working. Some challenges athletes face are being self critical, attention seeking, frustrated when sidelined lined or injured. Athletes would benefit learning explaining new horizons and getting in touch with thoughts and feelings, trying new things (basket weaving?) acceptance and compromise.
Affirmations for those who are frustrated, critical, sidelined or injured, over achieving, critical, attention seeking athletes. “My Life is opening up in new ways.” “I am excited about where life is taking me.” I am a multifaceted person.” “I can let go of my identikit as an athlete and enjoy playing the game.”
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