Chasing Greatness

If you could give your athletes one thing…

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I was asked a question in an interview that I did recently and I thought it was pretty interesting.

The answer was not what the coach (interviewer) expected and he seemed a bit surprised.

He later explained what the answer he planned on hearing was. I just was looking at the question at a different angle I guess but I didn’t see my answer as strange or out of the ordinary.

Based on this coach’s comment, I thought it would be a great discussion to see what responses other coaches would make to the same question.

Here is the question:

‘What is the *one* characteristic that you would want all of your athletes to possess?’

It’s great to hear what other coaches have to say and would love for you to add your answers to the blog.

I have worked with some great athletes in my career.  Though talent does play somewhat of a role in overall success of an athlete, it is not the only factor. I had some extremely talented athletes and had less talent athletes succeed at high levels. On the other hand, some talented athletes never did reach their full potential.  

If there was one attribute that I would give all of my athletes it would be…


I look forward to your comments.

Yours in speed,

Patrick Beith


P.S.- What makes athletes successful whether they have talent or are overachievers?

What one characteristic would you want all of your athletes to have?

Please post your comments below


  • Sue Wells says:

    One characteristic I would want an athlete to possess would be commitment .

  • Norman says:

    Have FUN while having the will to do the best he or she can.

  • Mark says:

    Coachability – Speed is great and I would always take an athlete with speed however if the faster athlete always takes 2 steps in the wrong direction and can’t follow directions on how to properly execute a play yet the slower athlete never false steps because they absorb and adapt to everything thrown at them then this is the athlete I want. The potential flaw with this is the poor coaching that is out there may not be helping the athlete that can truly take direction well.

  • Dan Thompson says:

    I would hope for coachability and hard work ethic (I know that is kind of 2, but…). Without these, it wouldn’t matter what training plan or skills you have, improvement would be limited.

  • The attribute I would most like my or an athlete to have is simply hard work and dedication. Regardless of ones talent level as long as he/she pursues excellent in their chosen endeavours, they should reach their full capabilities. Of course this is contingent on them receiving qualified training.

  • Dave says:

    to be a good person.

  • Mike says:

    In respones to your blog If there was one thing I could give to my athhete it would be.the will and Disire to Learn and listen and train hard.

  • Jacob Thurmond says:

    A few years ago, I was watching the Owensboro, KY Little League team play their last game in the qualifying round of the Little League World Series on ESPN. Only one team from each group made it to the LLWS. The KY team was in a tie-breaker situation so that not only did they have to win, but they could only allow their opponent to score 1 run. The KY team was up 6-1 going into the bottom of the last inning. The 12 year old on the mound had struck out 13 batters heading into the the bottom part of the last inning. In the last inning he struck out the first 2 batters leaving the team 1 out for the LLWS. Of course, I have built the story to indicate a huge disappoint. As you could have guessed, the 3rd batter hit a towering HR to eliminate the KY team from the LLWS. The pitcher’s eyes welled with tears as he hung is head on the mound. I was releived to see the coach come from the dugout. I thought to myself, “No child should have to stand out there and pitch in that condition.” I thought the coach would remove him from the game. The coach was “mic’ed up” so we could hear what he was about to say. He said something along the lines of, “I don’t care what the score is, I need you to finish this game”. He gave the pitcher a big hug and removed himself from the playing field. With tears still visible to all of us in TV land, he struck out the final batter of the game. I would give my athletes whatever that kid had that gave him the strength to stand out there for one more batter. The best word I can think of (although it is much more than that) is HEART. I would give my athletes heart.

  • Frank Muyshondt says:

    An athlete who is passionate about his sport, learns even by looking at practice.

  • Mahealani Monteilh-Zoller says:

    One of the most important attributes an athlete can have is heart. If I have two athletes. Athlete A has more technical skill than Athlete B. But Athlete B has more heart than Athlete A. If it came down to cutting one of them, I would cut Athlete A. Skill can be acquired with the right training. Heart, on the other hand, is an inherent characteristic that no coach is able to teach. So what is heart? Heart encompasses alot of positive traits but in a nutshell, I would define it as one’s desire to always want to work one’s hardest both during practice and during games. I have seen teams who have had a slight upper hand with respect to skill over other teams but have lost games because they lacked heart. Bottom line, when times get tough, you want the athlete whose going to give their 110%. What good is a skilled athlete who gives up when things get tough? I know it sounds cliche, but its true.

  • Deino Scott says:

    Knowledge. I like my athletes to know as much about what they are doing as possible. In this day and age they are overloaded with information by personal trainer, club coaches, the internet, and a host of other sources. The more I can give them information thet they can verify the more likely they sre to follow the plan and understand where they are trying to go,

  • Clifton Loveless says:

    Passion, with out a passion for the game
    you cant finish strong. With out passion you cant have heart, After 12 hours of being at the field and fighting your way out of the loosers braket you have to want it not just accept 2nd place. Passion out plays skill in the games that matter.

  • Ron says:

    Some coaches call it different things, but I would describe it as “heart”, “drive”, or “determination”. I have coached a lot of athletes with plenty of talent that did not reach their full potential nor out perform athletes with less talent that just would not be denied. Talent is always a good starting point, but the most talented athlete does not always take their game to the field and put all of the intangibles together required to become a complete ball player.

  • Brad says:

    I think the most important characteristic is the ability to listen and learn. Show me a kid that will listen to you and work to learn what you are trying to show them and I will show you someone that has an opportunity to achieve success.

  • Shane says:

    Discipline!!!!! If every athlete had this one quality it would cure all that is wrong with athletics…Kid just lack DISCIPLINE!!!!

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