Many young players and parents have over the years asked me what is the key attribute to making it and becoming a professional player? I think many believe my answer to be evasive in that I always tell them what is not the key attribute.
It most certainly is not skill or physical ability, important though these are.
Having talked to many top players one thing that does strike me as being very important is taking ownership and responsibility for your own development.
You get nothing for nothing in professional sport.
As a young player you need to take responsibility for your lifestyle, your training and what you eat. That isn’t easy, that’s one of the reasons this website exists. But if you want to be the best you can be you need to take control of your own destiny.
From a practical perspective you need to be honest with yourself and recognise both your strengths and weaknesses. Those areas of weakness need to be addressed, and that may involve seeking the right help and guidance.
I say the right help and guidance because there will be lots of people out there willing to give you advice. That leads me to another important attribute – the quest for knowledge. The more you know the more informed you will be to make decisions about yourself. That’s not to say you will not make mistakes. Study and learn from your mistakes and you ill develop into a better player.
So the key simply message is “Take responsibility for your own development”.