We all know that athletes should have good and proper habits. What do we mean by habits? Habits are adequate nutrition, sleep, training (both physical and mental).
We can see those elite athletes are different from non-elite athletes because they have other habits, personalities, and approaches.
What do professional athletes do differently?
1. They set specific goals (short-term).
Also, all professional athletes set specific goals and re-evaluate them. They focus mainly on short-term goals and consciously work on them in every training session. At the same time, after each training, they monitor themselves, take notes about their performance, and focus on what they need to improve- in which areas – in the next training. They do the same after each game/competition.
Most non-professional athletes do not set their goals correctly. They don’t have a specific direction or often set very general goals which are unattainable and unrealistic.
Most importantly, professional athletes focus on themselves, not on their opponents, and on anything they can’t control. They are concerned with their performance and only what they can handle.
So by following the technique of proper goal setting (SMARTER GOALS – every athlete can set goals and work on them consciously in every training session – regardless of whether they are doing team or individual sports) Read here about the target setting technique
“What keeps me going is goals” Muhammad Ali
2. Nutrition
Nutrition is another critical pillar that makes professional athletes stand out from non-professional athletes. Successful athletes try to stick to a proper nutrition plan. However, it is essential that it is done under the guidance of nutritionists and must be followed if we want to achieve maximum performance.
3. Sleep
Sleep is vital for all people and even more for athletes.
Professional athletes sleep adequately, i.e., they have a balanced sleep and do not sleep late. In contrast, non-elite athletes have more restless sleep, sometimes sleeping late; (especially on weekends).
However, many studies show that sleep has been linked sleep with good performance (Reilly & Edwards, 2007)
4. Resilience and mental toughness
Professional athletes are usually more resilient to adversity.
Many reasons might influence it, but mainly because they can know and control and manage their thoughts and unexpected situations that may come their way.
At the same time, they are more resilient because they are more confident (due to their experience) and can manage any external factors. They are also more focused on their goal.
On the other hand, non-elite athletes are not resilient due to the difficulties they might face, e.g., an injury.

All athletes must have the proper habits if they want to stand out. We are not selective. We maintain our daily routines: nutrition and sleep, while apparent, are not enjoyed by all athletes. We have to build habits from an early age to reach the top and stand out!
And let’s not forget that the road to success always needs sacrifices and is challenging.

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