You should always prepare for a challenge before you face it. Whether it is a job interview, final exam, or a sports match, being prepared is vitally important to your success. You may think that you have the prowess to defeat your opponent, but getting to know them can come as an advantage. Analyzing your fellow athlete physically and mentally can make your game even stronger, but analyzing yourself or having a coach do so can be even more effective.

First, identify the characteristics that you feel are most important to your game. Whether it’s speed, agility, balance, or technical skills, know yourself and how you compare to others. If you are aware of how you work and how your competition averages out, then you will be ready for any obstacle that you face. Many athletes are at the top of their game personally, but are surprised when faced with a challenger that they did not study. Being prepared is much better than being surprised when faced with a sizable opponent.

Just take physical strength. Being able to concentrate on the task at hand and maintaining that concentration throughout a competition is the key to success. Having a positive attitude couldn’t hurt either. If you go into a game without confidence in yourself, which means you are not sure you could be the best. Even if you aren’t, your performance will be poor without having confidence in yourself. Have your coach observe you and point out your concentration levels and how confident you are. You may be surprised by how much you put yourself down or how often you stray from your game.

For coaches, performance profiling can mean a world of a difference to your athletes. Study your athletes on a physical and mental level–not just based on their face-value performance. Being fast and getting faster every week is great. But could they be better? Are your athletes that aren’t performing well having trouble concentrating? Each athlete is different and will perform better under various circumstances. Study your athlete and find out what each of their strengths are and what they could improve upon. This is the key to maximizing your success as a coach.

To athletes and coaches, create performance profiles for yourself and your athletes. Getting to know yourself and your athletes is imperative to your own success and building better relationships with your athletes. Step up your game and have fun doing it.

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