Every athlete wants to find the X factor to help them increase their sports performance. This is the one thing that if they figure it out and starting applying it will take them to the next level. Some people might say that the X factor is not something you can see but something intangible that all great athletes simply have. Whether the X factor is something you can figure out and do something about or something that comes more naturally, there are a few things that athletes can do to help them reach a new level of performance.
The other day I was reading the most recent Sports Illustrated that did a great article on Jordan Spieth. It talked about many things, but given my profession there were a few things that stood out for me, that seemed to really help Jordan win the Masters and be such an incredible golfer at a his age. Many are these things I talk about with my clients on a regular basis, and try and help them to understand that it is not one thing that will make an athlete great but all the little things they do, which add up. Sports performance is as much about what you do during your training as it is what you do when you are not training. The article talks about Jordan’s bed time, how last year at the Masters he started worrying about the end result rather than just one shot at a time, and how even his technique, which is described as different, makes him who he is and contributed to his win.
These are things I talk to my clients about. Managing your energy and what you are doing away from practice, such as going to bed at a decent time, making sure you take it one step at a time, as this will help make you more present and focused. Finally, helping them to understand that they are unique and how they need to approach something is different than other people. Sometimes doing something differently then everyone is telling you to do it, will set you apart in a good way, and give you an edge over your competition. Many times I have had clients, especially in golf, tell me they are in the middle of adjusting their swing technique. It seems they are always adjusting it and trying to find a better way to swing the golf club. This is often the first thing they will turn to when they are not playing well, and will continue to use as an excuse. Our bodies are smart and will adjust accordingly based off of what needs to be done. Sometimes doing things differently and not over thinking the process will allow you to get the results you are looking for.
Instead of looking for the X factor to improve your sports performance, figure out what makes you different and how it can ultimately make you a better athlete and set you apart from the rest. There is no need to conform to the norm, who you are is the starting point for making you a great athlete.