Effort & Attitude…Be Great in Those Areas You Can Control

The other day I walked into the house of an awesome father who had a family motto attached to the front of the family fridge, it read “Don’t be average in the attributes”.

If you think about it that saying is pretty profound. The reason why is because attributes are always within your control, outcomes are not. Let me explain with a simple sports example. An athlete can always control how hard they work, they can’t directly control how much playing time they get .

That is why at Especially for Athletes we encourage athletes to focus on two main attributes: Effort and Attitude. Let’s talk about each of these briefly.


You can always control how hard you work. No one, not a coach, a teammate, a parent or an opponent can control your effort. They can knock you down, they can beat you, they can bench you, but you can always choose to do the work. In our experience there are three kinds of athletes.

  1. Those who don’t work hard enough. These athletes don’t lift as hard as they should, they don’t give full effort, they slack off in practice especially when a coach is not looking. These athletes will never reach their full potential.
  2. Those who work hard at practice and in the games. These athletes give their full effort in practices and during games. They work really hard and their effort is admirable, but they don’t seem to realize that millions of athletes around the country are doing the same exact thing.
  3. Those who work hard at practice and in games and before practice and after and on weekends and on holidays…. You get the point. These are gym rats, film nerds. They truly work on their craft and try to get the most out of their athletic ability.
  4. Which one are you? What kind of effort are you giving? Are you getting the most out of your talents? Do you see how effort does not depend at all on your talent level, your playing time, your height or weight? No matter what comes your way you can give awesome effort!


Much like effort you have complete control over your attitude. You can be positive, you can be uplifting, you can be encouraging, you can be a unifier, you can resist complaining, you can refuse to give up and give in. Hopefully, we have all had the honor of playing with that kind of a teammate. Once again this is completely within you control. No one can make you complain, no one can make you talk ill of a teammate, no one can make you pout, not one can make you get down on and frustrated at someone who makes a mistake in a game…You get it, right?

The awesome thing about concentrating on becoming awesome in the attributes is that regardless of your skill level it will help you become the best athlete you can be. Also, these two attributes are portable way beyond your sports life. In fact, that may be one of the most valuable benefits of participating in sports, it helps you to develop these two attributes.

Most everyone who reads this article will not play sports for a profession; however, if you learn to work when others won’t, to keep going when others stop, to be accomplishing while people are sleeping you will excel in whatever it is you end up doing. Likewise, if you can learn to have an attitude that lifts and encourages when things get tough, if you can learn to see opportunities in challenges, if you can focus when others quit, you will be someone that others want to have around. You will be successful at all that you do. You can control your effort and your attitude, so Do the Work…do it!

This week concentrate on being Awesome in the Attributes! Doing so will leave you with no regrets and valuable assets! Eyes up – Do the Work!

E4A Family Strong!

Shad Martin
Especially for Athletes