NYC's Premier Junior Program
  | By Chris Nieves
Playing your sport and being an athlete is a job. You have to prepare, work hard, and ultimately strive to successfully complete a task, which should be to play your best.
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Playing your sport and being an athlete is a job. You have to prepare, work hard, and ultimately strive to successfully complete a task, which should be to play your best. Below are some skills that are needed to successful at any job or sport.

Be prepared

One important skill of performing any job is preparation. Whether you are giving a presentation in front of colleagues, or playing a sport, your preparation is important and will influence how you perform. Preparation means putting the work in. Successful athletes prepare themselves by devoting enough time and effort to get ready for competition. They not only prepare both mentally and physically, but also spend enough time studying their opponents. It is important to understand that preparation is a process and not just everything you do at practice. It also means getting enough sleep, eating healthy, which will both influence your performance.

Be time-oriented

Another important skill is being time-oriented. Being time-oriented in a job means striving to complete a task in a timely matter as well as using that time wisely. As an athlete, that means being dedicated and willing to put the necessary time in to be successful. Being time-oriented also means focusing on the present moment and seizing the day. Instead of thinking about the future or what you plan on eventually doing, this means living in the moment and working each day to accomplish your goals.

Ask questions

Starting a job can sometimes be daunting. But it is always beneficial to not be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are not sure about your job responsibilities or expectations. The same thing may be helpful as an athlete. Ask questions and gain as much knowledge as you can about your sport and how to be successful.

Find a mentor

Seeking out a mentor at work is also a good strategy. A mentor can provide valuable feedback, while teaching new skills, and also help guide you in your career. In addition, a mentor can serve as a listening ear when faced with any challenge. In sports, having a mentor can be valuable especially for young athletes. Whether it is a coach, sport psychology consultant, or an older teammate, it is always important to surround yourself with someone you can trust and that can help you grow as an athlete and person.

Be accountable

Being accountable is also an important part of doing any job. This means taking ownership of your work and everything you do. As an athlete, sometimes it can be easy to not take ownership, especially after a loss or disappointment. It is very tempting to place the blame on others or on something else. But successful athletes accept and take responsibility of their performance regardless if its good or bad. They don’t look for excuses. Once you accept a loss and learn from it, you are on the road to come back stronger.

Be a team player

Performing a job often requires teamwork. In sports, working together as a team is very important, especially in doubles tennis. In doubles, both players need to be able to work together in order to be successful, which is why finding and playing with the right partner is key. Teammates need to be able to communicate effectively, trust each other, and develop a good rapport if they want to be successful.

Be positive

To be successful in any job or any sport, you have to believe in yourself. Having a positive attitude is a must. Thinking positively will help boost confidence, decrease stress, and make your job or sport more enjoyable. It also will help you work better with others and be more resilient. So think positively!


Chris Nieves

Chris Nieves, MS is the founder and director of Empower Mental Training, which provides mental skills and sport psychology training for athletes. As a former Division I athlete, Chris learned the importance of mastering the mental side of sports. From this experience, he decided to pursue a career in helping athletes learn how to develop a winning mindset. Chris strongly believes that your mindset is the key to being successful in sports, overcoming adversity, and ultimately reaching your peak potential. For more information, visit