The Magical 7 Traits to Becoming a Elite Athlete-Part 3

Warren 'Coach' NyeAll Sports, Sport Tips

Mind Over Sport with Coach Nye..


Over the years I had noticed that the athletes who advanced in their own play both on the ice and off, had some different characteristics then the rest of the athletes. At one time I thought it was just maturity and knowing what they were going after in sport. But I started asking questions and then observing the reactions of the players who I spoke with and really started to notice things. Things they did before or after a game. Time away from the rink was spent differently than most of the other players. Their body language was different, just not outside the room but also inside the room.

Their own personality was different compared to others. While I have noticed that many talented work athletes spend their entire career wondering why they don’t make it to the top (elite) level. This often happens because they have not developed the characteristics that are found in elite athletes or they have not had a mentor, colleague or role model to help them see what characteristics they lack. Often, it is a simple blind spot that they need to be made aware of.

It is vital for an individual to discover and then to master these elite characteristics in order to reach their potential.

Elite “Athletes” share the following traits:

Elite athletes will operate this way throughout their life. They think of others first and focus on what they can contribute, not what they can take away from something. This is what makes them great team players and great leaders, often called “influences.” There are many examples of leaders who don’t demonstrate this attitude, unfortunately, and they are the ones who ultimately never become elite athletes.

Communication Skills
To me this is a ‘no brainer’.
‘The ability to absorb, process, and share information can make the difference between being an average worker and an elite athlete.’


Willing to do More then the Next
An elite athlete knows how to keep the fire burning so they are always passionate about their work. “One More” is a favorite term of elite athletes. They are excited by the prospect of having even just one more opportunity to make their mark on the world and improve others’ lives in the process.

Self Confidence
This is one of the major issues that athletes go through in their career and in fact it isn’t just athletes, it is all of us. It is a trait we need to master ourselves daily.
Elite athletes have confidence in themselves to succeed, no matter what! This allows their dedication and motivation to flourish. Often, this level of humility and confidence is contagious and has a positive impact on everyone around them. When the going gets tough, elite athletes intuitively understand that sometimes the secret to success is not to get tougher but to employ all the attributes listed above. When elite athletes face troubled times, they actually become kinder, more thoughtful, empathetic, and understanding.

Having Your Own Routine 
Athletes are creatures of routine, and for good reason. It takes years to figure out exactly what offseason, in-season, pre-game and post-game routine produces the best results. Successful athletes are like scientists; they add, subtract and test new methods one by one to see if they increase performance.
It’s crucial to put oneself in a position to “peak” before each and every competition or game. Tapering physical training, rest, nutrition, and mental training all have their place and need to be in ideal balance to produce ideal results. Once athletes find out what works, they stand by it with tenacity and are deliberate in altering routines.

Hardening of the Athlete
Here is what I men by this.
To maintain a high level of performance over the years, consistent training is crucial.

Strengthen key body parts consistently and slowly over time. This is the only way to keep the body from deteriorating over long seasons, especially as you age. For most athletes, the hamstrings, glutes, back, and forearms should be the hardest, most bulletproof parts of the body.
As for an athlete, we always want young athletes to work hard, but not so hard that it becomes a job. Enjoying training is crucial to being able to maintain it for what is hopefully a long career. So no, it’s not about working to exhaustion every single day in the gym. Work hard, but don’t exhaust yourself to the point that you can’t keep showing up day in and day out. This will allow a greater body of work to endure over time.

The 7th trait, the one which I feel is the ‘master’ of them all!

‘In order to keep himself at the top of his condition, to obtain complete mastery of all his powers and possibilities, a man must be good to himself mentally; he must think well of himself.’

Do you see now why I left this trait for last?

It means so much for to become an elite athlete.

When I explain mastering one-self to athletes that I coach, I explain it this way.

You need to master the ‘Outside Mastery’ and also the ‘Inside Mastery’ 

Outside Mastery isn’t simple to do but it is the common thing. Like working out, eating probably, getting enough rest, practicing over and over again the same routine or drills, being kind to others, respecting your elders, coaches, parents and opponents. This is all important and needs to be done but before you can really master one-self it is the inner self, the mental side of yourself that needs to be conditioned.

‘What you think, you become.’

I’m a big believer in that statement.

Mastering your inner-self is preparing the mind to overcome obstacles, to navigate your way to being the elite athlete you know you should be. Just as it takes discipline and commitment to perform drills in practice, day in, day out, it is the same for the mental state. You will need to like yourself and know exactly what you are going to do to achieve your goals.
This does not happen over night, it demands a lot of you and your mind over months and years of training. But like all great athletes it gets done and they rise above the rest.

 How Bad Do You Want It?

Are you one of those athletes who will be rising over the rest of your competition?

Are you willing to do what others may not be willing to do?

If you are, then you will be on the road to becoming an elite athlete. But remember this, the road will not be easy, it won’t be straight, there will be ups and downs, snags along the way. But with proper training, proper mindset and guidance (remember you can’t do it alone), you will make it!

I wish you luck!

Until next time.
Coach Nye

About the Author

With years of experience in sports and business – from sweeping the floors when starting off in business, to coaching a very successful National Championship hockey team and then managing other hockey teams along the way – the Coach has seen it all!

Coach Nye is the founder and CEO of Mind Over Sport (, a world wide leader in effective mental fitness/toughness training, leadership, stress management training and life coaching. Since being involved in the sport of hockey, Coach Nye has trained numerous players to the professional level and continues to this day to connect with them and many others to help them through different stages in their playing careers. Coach Nye has created his own weekly podcast show, Mind Over Sport Podcast Show with Coach Nye with over thousands of followers and listeners. While also working with great organizations such as Womens Hockey Life, The Coaches Site, My Pro Hero, Weiss Tech Hockey Magazine and Changing the Game Project. He currently resides in Lucan, Ontario Canada.


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