Putting in the Work - Becoming a Champion
If you set small, manageable goals and increase them week by week, you will see progression in your skills. Push yourself. Repetition and consistency are critical to becoming great.
How to turn your dreams into reality with Kelley O’Hara.
It is human nature to want to find the easiest route to success. In sports, there is no easy route. The time that you spend trying to find a shortcut will only lead to time wasted, time that you could have spent improving.
The key to becoming a great athlete is putting in work every day and dedicating yourself to consistently working on your game. Hard work beats talent every time.
David Beckham, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, built his career off of pure desire, hard work, and love for the game. Beckham was not as naturally gifted as fellow soccer greats like Pelé, Lionel Messi, or Cristiano Ronaldo. But that’s what made Beckham a global sensation. Watching him play, you could see the raw determination from a mile away.
One of the most well-known sports stories in history is the tale of basketball legend, Michael Jordan, being cut from his high school basketball team. Although, many don’t know the full story. Jordan tried out for the varsity team as a sophomore, but was not as skilled as he needed to be at the time, having to settle for junior varsity. One sophomore made the team that year, Jordan’s best friend who stood at a whopping 6-foot-7. Jordan was devastated at first, then made the decision to change his mindset and get to work, determined to be the best player on varsity the upcoming year. When he would get tired while training and think about stopping, he would visualize that varsity roster without his name on it. The rest is history.
Being born with talent is a gift, but if you’re not willing to put in the work on top of it, talent means nothing. Every professional athlete that you know has put in countless hours of work, by themselves, when no one else is watching, in order to reach their goals.
Kelley O’Hara - Earning Her Spot
Versus sat down with soccer star, Kelley O’Hara, in an exclusive video interview to discuss the importance of putting in extra hours of work and staying dedicated.
After being cut from a soccer team her freshman year of high school, O’Hara realized that she was not putting in the necessary amount of training to achieve her goals.
Following this defeat, she completely changed her mindset and work ethic. She knew that she was capable of being great, but only if she put in the time and effort it would take to get there.
O’Hara started her college career as a standout forward for Stanford. In her final season, The Hermann Trophy recipient led the team with 26 goals and 13 assists.
In her professional career, she has become a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and an Olympic gold medalist. She currently plays defender for the Washington Spirit and the United States Women’s National Team.
An overview of her advice on staying consistent and dedicated is explained below. If you want to hear more from O’Hara and many other athletes, download the Versus app or visit Versus.co to sign up.
You Control Your Own Potential
“The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching,” O’Hara says.
The only thing standing in your way of becoming great is yourself. Once you decide to completely dedicate yourself to your craft, you control your destiny. O’Hara’s gold medals and trophies may look glamorous from an outside perspective, but the road to get her to this point was anything but that.
The moments spent alone, pushing yourself and working on your game, is the only thing that will lead to these incredible, victorious moments. Just you, a ball and sometimes a wall.
“Even to this day, as a professional athlete, I’ve gone into a parking deck and passed against a wall, because that’s what I had available to me and that’s what I needed to do to get a couple of touches on the ball,” states O’Hara.
Everything You Do Matters
Being a great athlete is a 24/7 job. If you want to reach your fullest potential as an athlete, every decision that you make in all aspects of your life must revolve around your sport.
It’s looking at everything through the lens of “Is this going to make me a better athlete, or is this going to make me worse?”
- What you are fueling your body with, matters.
- What you are doing in your down time, matters.
- What you are feeding your mind with, matters.
- Who you surround yourself with, matters.
- How you are recovering, matters.
You will never stay the same. If you are not improving, you are declining. It is important to remember that not everyone is setting the same goals as you, so stay focused on your own journey, and don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way. Every decision you make will either improve you as an athlete, or take away.
Dedicate Yourself to Consistent Work
The most important aspect to becoming a great athlete is staying consistent, and the only way to stay consistent is to stay dedicated. Technique, repetition and muscle memory are the keys to success in every sport.
In soccer, spending time with the ball at your feet every day will elevate your game to the next level.
“Even me, as a professional soccer player, I have to spend time with the ball,” says O’Hara.
Spending time with the soccer ball can be very simple. Practicing small things like juggling, footwork, passing and receiving for 20 to 30 minutes every day will improve your performance on the field.
Do the little things, do them better, do them differently and perform them at 100% every single rep.
If you set small, manageable goals and increase them week by week, you will see progression in your skills. Some days you will be tired, won’t be in the mood, or it won’t be very exciting. Push yourself. Repetition and consistency are critical to becoming great.
We hope you have enjoyed this overview of our exclusive interview with Kelley O’Hara.
If you want to go deeper on soccer training and what it takes to have a winning mindset, head over to Versus and check out our Game Plans. Any of our packages will get you access to her lessons, plus tons of other training sessions, interactive content, and more.
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