To reach the Olympic level in sports, an athlete must certainly be in top physical form. So what mental skills do Olympians need to possess?
A study conducted in England has that answer. Among other things, they found 5 key attributes among Olympic athletes:
- A positive personality: Olympic champions possess positive personality characteristics including openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, competitiveness, optimism and pro-activity.
- Motivation: Gold medalists have multiple internal (i.e. passion for the sport) and external (i.e. proving their worth) motives for competing at the highest level. Champions consciously judge external pressures as important and so choose to perform in challenging sports environments.
- Confidence: Gained from various sources including multifaceted preparation, experience, self-awareness, visualization, coaching and team mates.
- Focus: Champions are able to focus on themselves without distraction, and to concentrate on the process rather than the outcome of events.
- Perceived social support: Olympic gold medalists believe high quality social support is available to them, including from family, coaches, team mates and support staff.