Being an Athlete: Responsibility and Ownership

Responsibility and Ownership


The most important trait you will notice from world class athletes is the responsibility.  Now of course there are some exceptions to the rule, but the majority of them are pin point on how they handle themselves. They know what it takes to get to the top and go beyond the norm to make sure that they stay there.  The second important trait is ownership.  They take pride in what they do whether good or bad and take both the praise and the criticism for whatever happens.   These traits aren’t things that they just pick up once they make it to the top.  They are learned along the way to the top.  They are taught by parents, teachers, mentors and coaches while they are still young.

The biggest dis-service that adults do for young athletes is doing everything for them.  I know that they believe that what they are doing is in their child/athletes best interest.  They think that by them doing all of the “extra” tasks they are allowing their athlete to just go out and perform and excel in their sport.  But more often than not the opposite occurs.  Since the athlete doesn’t have to do the behind the scenes work they never learn the commitment that it takes to be great.  They never learn that their actions are directly associated with their result.  If everything they do besides the game is easy then you are not really progressing as an athlete.

Last week I had a mom set up a session for her daughter who is a top soccer player in the area and has worked with me for a few years now.  She told me that her daughter was upset about her conditioning and wanted to get back to working out.  On the day of the session the other athlete that I was training her with had to reschedule so I was ready to work with her specifically.  Her appointment time came and went without her showing so I called her mom and asked what happened.  This is what her mom texted back:

“I am out of town and left my husband in charge.  I scheduled with you and her and thought it was all good since she wanted to come.  She fell asleep doing her summer school reading.  She will apologize in person, pay for your time, reschedule and if you need her to do any chores at your place please sign her up. I am very upset that this has happened again.  I had hoped she understood how important an adult’s work schedule was.  Mortified!”

Later that day the daughter called and apologized and then came in the next day to apologize in person.  I was so impressed by the mom putting responsibility and ownership on her daughter’s shoulders that I had to thank her and ask if I could write about it.  Now I know some people might feel that all she said was tough on the daughter, but I do believe that it became a learning moment and will help mold her daughter for years to come.

Once athletes learn to be responsible for everything that they are doing and to take ownership in their choices and decisions they take a big step in becoming great.  Being responsible isn’t always the popular thing to do, but knowing that you have bigger and better things ahead of you and taking ownership of your choices and actions can make the decisions worthwhile.