What Makes Pros, Pros?

Ben Croft during 2012 Ektelon Nationals by restrungmag.com

What Makes Pros, Pros?

Ben Croft by restrungmag.com

Whether it’s a painter on the street, a bicyclist flying down the road, or a tennis player roping balls with a partner, I’m often reminded that tremendously talented people surround us everyday.  With so much talent around every corner, I can’t help but wonder: With time and practice, could I do that? Although I appreciate and respect the many people who can take different activities to an elite level, I realize that the answer to my question is no; I could not do what they do at the same level. 

Some people are born with the genes to be big and strong, and some to be unbelievably fast; some are born with dynamic personalities or the gift of public speaking. Most of us personally know at least one of these gifted athletes (if not many), and wonder why they’re not competing on tour with the top dogs of racquetball. So, what does it take to compete at the top tier in our beloved sport? Here’s my thought process:
There are many attributes one needs to compete at the highest level. While many are gifted athletes, they may not have the drive to practice or train.  Those who have the work ethic may lack the athletic talents. Then again, many have both yet lack mental toughness and drive. To compete at the highest level, there needs to be a healthy combination of three major attributes. These things can be fine-tuned and trained, but in my opinion, you’re either born with them or you’re not.

1.) Athleticism: An obvious attribute to a professional athlete. This is probably the most important category, because with enough natural athleticism, you can almost sneak by without the other two.
2.) Work Ethic: This is the hardest and rarest attribute.  To have the patience and drive to go practice and train everyday is something that few have.   I’m not talking about just practice matches; I mean the days that you’re tired, beat up, and drained, but still make your way to the gym and go through a session of drilling by yourself. Then the next day, you wake up and do it all over again.
3.) Drive/Mental Toughness: If you were born with the first two attributes, this is the cherry on top. This is the part of your brain that says, “I know you’re tired, but you can do it!” It helps you find a way to push through the adversity and win.
I really believe that all three of these attributes make all the difference between being good, and being great at anything. From painting to cyclists, public speaking to racquetball, there are so many talented people around the world and each one of them are born with attributes that make them great.
Ben Croft finished the 2012-2013 IRT season ranked #6 on the International Racqetball Tour while helping ensure racquetball players of all skill levels get all the greatest gear as the Business Manager for RacquetballWarehouse.com