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The Star Mentality Post

  • Writer's pictureRifat Hussein

Unlock Your Athletic Potential: The Power of Identifying Your Personal Values

If I asked you right now what your values are as an athlete, would you be able to come up with an answer? How you even thought about them before?

Most likely not. Athletes have a hard time clarifying their values. It happens for a variety of reasons. For instance, not knowing how to reflect on their priorities and sometimes athletes are driven by external factors (parents and coaches). This makes it difficult to identify what truly is important to them.

However, values have a huge influence on every aspect of your sporting career, whether you realise it or not. It can impact how you view yourself as an athlete to how you live your life in general. Understanding your values is just as important as having a solid commitment to your training.

What Are Values Within Sports?

In general, values are personal statements about the things that are important in our lives. Within sports, they offer a sense of purpose and direction during your career. In a nutshell, values serve as standards for your behaviours as athletes.

Your values also express how you want to connect with people. This includes your teammates, coaches, and family. From this, you can see how your values start to play a significant role in your life as an athlete.

But you shouldn’t look at values as set rules. They are not enforced behaviours you have to strictly live by. Instead, they should be viewed as your characteristics and ways of thinking that will help you excel.

Here are five examples of athletic values:

  • Discipline – Adhering to a training schedule and maintaining self-control

  • Perseverance – The determination to keep going and not give up in the face of adversity

  • Respect – Treating teammates, coaches, and opponents with dignity and courtesy

  • Family – Providing support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging to others in your sporting environment

  • Leadership – Being a role model and inspiring others to be their best

As you can see from these examples, we are solely focusing on your traits and behaviours. We are taking away outcome-based perspectives, as it’s far more important to develop key characteristics that will contribute to your overall performance.

What Are The Advantages of Knowing Your Values?

When you understand your values, you align more with the type of athlete you want to be and represent to the rest of the world. You begin to embody a clear self-identity. Here are a few of the benefits:

Provides purpose: Knowing what is important to you gives you a greater sense of fulfilment when working towards your goals. You will be more invested in your training, put in the necessary effort, and perform to the best of your ability.

Improves decision-making: You become more aware of your thoughts, behaviours, and actions. This helps you become more disciplined, make tougher choices, and prioritize your needs in the face of external pressures.

Increases resilience: Your values provide you with direction helping you navigate through adversity. It gives you something meaningful to continuously work towards even when things don’t go to plan. Such as when dealing with an injury.

Enhances team dynamics: You build better unity with your coaches and teammates when sharing your values. It improves trust, cohesion, respect, and communication within the squad.

As you can see, clarifying your athletic values is powerful. It takes your performance to the next level. When doing your sport, you feel happier and more confident. You feel more relaxed and better equipped to manage the stressors of competition.

How Do You Identify Your Values?

Finding your values should be an enjoyable process. It allows you to choose the type of athlete you want to be. You make the decisions about what is important to you. Here are five steps you can take to identify your values:

Step 1) Using the questions listed below, I want you to think about and brainstorm as many values as you can, ensure they embody the qualities you want to reflect, and write them down:

- What do you want to stand for in life and as an athlete?

- How do you want to think and feel while you play?

- How do you relate to your teammates during a game?

- At the end of your career, what qualities do you want to be remembered for?

Step 2) Once you have your list, condense it down to between 5 and 10 core values that are most important to you. Circle them or write them down on a separate piece of paper.

Step 3) Begin defining each of your values using your own words. This makes them more effective as you decide what they mean to you. It makes them personal and tailored to your sporting needs.

Step 4) I want you to now determine how well you currently live by these values by ranking each one between 1 and 10 (1 being the lowest score and 10 being the highest).

Use past athletic experiences as evidence to help you. Be honest with yourself and try to be as accurate as possible with these rankings. Hold yourself accountable and make room for improvement.

Step 5) Start applying your values to your training, competitions, and the interactions you have with others. After every month, re-score your values and track your progress.

This process takes time. Essentially you are designing your athletic career, so don’t rush it. Take a few days or a week to allow yourself to deeply think about your values as they are significant to you and your sport.

Applying Your Values

Looking at step 5, you might be thinking about how to take action and start living in line with your values.

Begin by writing down your list of values on your phone, so you always have them with you. Read them before each training session and match so you can commit them to memory. Use it as a roadmap for your choices and a reminder of the kind of athlete you want to be. The more you do this, the more likely it will be that aligning with your values becomes second nature.

However, it is important even when faced with challenging feelings you still act consistently with your values. It will express that you are true to your beliefs and build your confidence. As you do this, your self-control will improve, and you’ll develop into the athlete you want to be.

Take Home Messages

It’s important for you to identify and understand your values. They help improve the traits that will be beneficial to your overall performance. Knowing your values increases your self-awareness. You start to think, feel, and behave more in line with the kind of athlete you want to be.

Selecting your values is a personal process that requires time. Use the step-by-step guide I provided above to assist you. Once you are aware of your values, live by them and continuously work on them throughout your athletic career.


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