What Makes A Good Athlete?

What makes a good athlete? What are some characteristics and qualities that make a good athlete?

The passion and determination athletes have shows the love and admiration they have for their sports. The qualities needed to make a great athlete vary between each person. 

“For me it’s more about the hard work and what effort they are going to put in any sort of sport or anything like that. Rather than their skill level, because skill can be taught hard work can be not,” Assistant Coach for Varsity Cheerleading Shannon Muller said. 

The perspectives on sports between a coach and a player differ. Coaches look towards the academic part first and then the player. They see how the athlete interacts in class, for example seeing if they are doing the assignments, or if they are being a distraction toward others in class, if they follow rules, and if they put the effort in class. 

“As a coach especially in high school, they’re a student-athlete so student comes before athletes, so they need to be a good standing student in school before they can even become an athlete,” Coach Muller said. “Usually that means they are a hard worker, they are determined, they are willing to put in the effort, putting the extra hours, don’t get knocked down after the first try they will get back up and do it again, things like that.”  

Cheer going over their routine at senior night. (Kiara Torres)

Being an athlete means having the skills to play the sport and devotion to it. The desire to make the team improve and improve their own skills, while also focusing on school.  

“A good athlete is kind of the same thing, skills can be taught so a good athlete is someone who is willing to be part of the team, they want to help improve the team and they are not there just for themselves, they want to keep improving their own skills in order to help improve the team,” Coach Muller said. 

The main goal for most athletes and coaches is to win, have fun and make improvements. Coaches talk to each other trying to find ways to improve team productivity.  

  “As a coach what I do to make improvements, is to make sure that at practice we are putting in the repetitions to make sure they are getting enough time to practice certain skills, give them advice when they need advice and help them make corrections on things and make it a fun and safe environment so they feel they can do that,” Coach Muller said 

For an athlete to stand out is not just having skills, it is how you behave outside the sport, the work they are putting in, and how they involve themselves in the team.  

“To make an athlete standout, I believe, is how they interact with their team. If there’s someone who is not as skill level but they really interacting with their team, they really trying to put in the effort, and be better for the team, that’s what makes an athlete standout for me,” Muller said  

An effective quote is one that motivates and inspire you, it gives you the confidence to accomplish your dreams. Here is the piece of advice coach Muller has. 

 “To not let any sort of down step or step back discourage you from being the best you can, just keep pushing through and keep putting the hard work and it all workout in the end,” Muller said 

Athletes’ abilities and performance in their chosen sports are what define them as a good athlete, but their mindset is equally important. 

“I think you have to be driven and be able to put everything that is in your mind aside and focus on the sport,” Cheerleader Nathalie Cristancho Rogriguez said 

How players make improvements varies from how a coach makes improvements on the team. While the coach helps the team by giving advice and making corrections, here is what Cristancho does.  

“I practice at home; I (go) over counts, I stretch,” Cristancho said “I think just the fact that I have experience form last year, I am the only flyer from last year”   

A good athlete is always trying to improve their weaknesses. That could be something physical like working on their weak side or learning to take care of their body, or it could be something more on the mental side, like working on their mindset or mentality towards the game.

“I can always improve in my stunts and stuff like that and get better at jumps” Cristancho said  

There is one piece of advice that is always stuck in your head, that changes your mindset and the way you see things. This one has always been on Cristancho’s mind.  

“To always try to be your best” Cristancho said  

Coaches also have a different point of view towards their opinions on what makes a good athlete. Some of them are based on skills levels, others on what they could bring to the team, and others on their qualities as a person and player.  

“It would have to be discipline and respect; the rest comes little by little. Like controlling, dribbling all that kind of stuff,” Soccer Coach Freddy Aguirre said. 

Coach Freddy being a supportive coach by fixing the captain armband on Haley Ladd. (Kiara Torres)

Every coach looks for something different when looking for an athlete. They look at how they behave in and out of practice, the effort they put in and their commitment to the sport.  

“I look for compromise. You have to make a commitment to yourself. Practice, practice, practice makes permanent not perfect,” Coach Freddy said, “I believe 100% in discipline that what makes the difference, talent is not enough. “ 

There are different ways coaches can improve the team, whether that be doing new drills, having bonding time between the team or just being there for their players.  

“To make improvements is different because everybody is different, different person, different qualities, so what will could do is talk to them see what they need, what they are looking for and how far they can go” Coach Freddy said 

The advice that a coach gives to athletes is very important. Because they may have already passed what the athlete is going through now. So, pay close attention to what the coach has to say.  

“The advice is to believe, believe, believe in yourself nobody is going to do it for you, just you” Coach Freddy said 

Some characteristics that make a good athlete are being passionate, committed, supportive, competitive, and persistent. All while also putting the work to reach your maximum potential.  

“Teamwork, confidence and skills are just some, but I think those are the most important” Varsity Soccer player Diego Orellana Rivera said  

Training helps an athlete make improvements, but taking care of your body is important too. Sometimes there are times where you need to listen to your body, because if you do not something is going to happen eventually.  

“I train every other day and consistently. Consistently always helps,” Orellana said “I train 4 out of 7 days of week and reset the other 3. Is very important to maintain a routine” 

Consistency is the key to improvement; it helps you bring momentum. The more consistent you are while doing something, the easier it gets. In the end what was previously was a struggle now is starting to become a habit.  

“I think I need to improve is being consistent, is one thing I always seem to be struggling with,” Orellana said 

Depending on the sport, coaches looked for specific skills. Coaches for basketball look for ball handling and rebounding, while soccer coaches look for passing and receiving the ball, and cheerleading coaches look for previous experience. But they all look for similar qualities like a good fitness level, passion, willpower, confidence, and good grades.  

“Attitude, grades, dedication and fitness” Varsity and Middles School Basketball Coach Kylie Root said.  

Coaches look for athletes who are selfless, have chemistry within the team, can be coachable, are all-around individuals, and have a good work ethic.  

“Attitude, the work that they going to put in, what other things they are doing in their life. For example, are they involved in other sports that will interfere with their dedication to basketball” Coach Root said. “In shape, have the skills to play at any level they are in, willing to work hard to get better”   

Isaiah Smith at the free throw line to continue the lead in the score against Mater Brighton Lakes Academy. (Kiara Torres)

What many coaches do to improve team productivity is motivate their players, like they give them incentives and provide positive reinforcements. They also try to incorporate new things into the team, like new ways to manage the team and new exercises to do at practice. 

“I watch game films, I speak with my assistant coach, I talk to the girls on the team, I also look for new plays, look for new drills, watch college basketball and learn things from there.”   Coach Root said. 

Coach Root have one piece of advice for those athletes who are not completely committed to their sport. 

“That if you’re not willing to put in the work, then there’s no need to play a sport, because there always going to be someone better than you, so if you’re not going to putting the work don’t play.” Coach Root said. 

Some qualities that make a good athlete are time management, resilience to failure and listening whether they be a coach or player. Having good sportsmanship, consistency and a good attitude are particularly important qualities to have in sport.  

“Being patient and really having an open mind to like learn and excel in basketball” Varsity Basketball player Isaiah Smith said. “An athlete does more than play the game, it has passion for the game”  

Working to overcome weaknesses is what every athlete should do, which would help their individual skills and the team. That means working hard in practice and always giving the 100%. 

“Train, really work on my weaknesses when I’m at practice or outside of practice” Smith said. 

Many athletes find it hard being consistent because of the lack of patience. They want to see the result without the struggles that come with it. Which causes most of them to quit during the struggle before they can experience the results. 

“Probably consistently, because a lot of players can you make a good move, and you know shoot a 3 but can you do that at like 4 times in a row,” Smith said, “Be patient, because things don’t come overnight, you really have to work for it, and you eventually see the results”  

There are many qualities that show what makes a better athlete. There is one quality that sticks out from the others. It depends on the athlete; some athletes are more passionate than others, while there are athletes more responsible than others.  

“Perseverance is one the qualities that I tried to keep as an athlete, because it’s easy to give up in moments where it will feel rough and like the world is crashing down. So, perseverance is one the most important qualities about an athlete and consistently because you always need to practice and practice, and they said practice makes perfect but honestly practice makes improvement.” Varsity Basketball player Lauren Jorda said. 

Having passion and dedication towards their sport makes a difference. Dedication makes the athlete overcome any obstacle being thrown at them. While passion is what makes them commit themselves towards the sport.  

“If they have that passion, I believe that will make them more a great athlete because I want to learn more and their willing to work hard and dedicate themselves to the sport, that not only will make them a great athlete but a great person in life” Jorda said. 

Keeping a balance is very important when participating in any sport. A balance in where you need to keep up with school, while also trying your hardest in practice or games. Keeping a healthy balance makes life a little easier.  

“I practice and practice, I also make sure to take care of myself mentally and physically, and just to keep a balance because that is important for keeping a well-being for my health, so I make sure to exercise or like mediate before each game and just let my body rest so that it always be in the best condition” Jorda said. 

People think that an athlete only stands out because of their skills levels compared to others, but that is far from the truth. The hard work, the chemistry between each other, and how they behave in and out the sport is what makes that athlete stand out from the others.  

“What makes me standout as an athlete is my attitude, I think I have a calm attitude towards the game and unlike the others I don’t show my passion as much but when I’m on the court I always given my best effort and it the end I always know that I tried “Jorda said. 

Sometimes specific skills are not the only weaknesses athletes have, mentality and mindset are big weaknesses, others need to improve qualities. Like being more compromised or be more responsible. 

“Passion hasn’t been my best quality so far and I think it’s important that like I remember why I fell in love with the sport and to keep going at it, even when it feels rough.” Jorda said. 

The qualities and characteristics mentioned throughout the story are what make a good athlete. These coaches and athletes have described what they believe is a good athlete. One last advice these athletes have to give is  

“Never give up is obviously the best I could to another athlete and to also have fun playing the sport, after all it just an activity and if you don’t have fun in doing what you do then I think you’re just depleting yourself emotionally.” Jorda Said