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Athletes on their quest for excellence

There are no guaranteed blueprints or formulae for an athlete to excel and obtain operational excellence in a high-performance culture. However, there are many speculations on a comprehensive approach that allows high performance to be inevitable and sustainable, according to a case study executed by Lorenz, Reiman, Lehecka and Naylor.

On the Characteristics that Determine Elite Versus Nonelite Athletes in the Same Sport revealed the performance characteristics of elite endurance athletes compared to nonelite athletes in high-performance endurance sports.  Physiologic and training variables demonstrated to correlate with elite endurance performance, including VO2max, running economy, Anaerobic Threshold, anthropometry, and an array of training characteristics, distinguish elite from nonelite endurance athletes. An interaction between genetic and training factors also occurred.

In addition to the physical performance characteristics, a variety of psychological factors should be taken into account, since they go hand in hand with the operational excellence of the athletes. From a sports psychological perspective, there are five well-known emotional factors that will prevent athletes from winning tournaments: stress, anxiety, tension and aggression.

Stresses result from non-fulfilment of needs – continued stresses create anxieties, and anxiety leads to tension. The residual effect of tension is felt, monitored and evaluated both physiologically and psychologically and is ultimately linked with psychosomatic disorders.

The financial aspect

The determination to reach the top in any sport requires the needed financial support. Limited and insufficient financial leverage, to support the services and programs necessary to enable athletes to consistently achieve podium results, can be a crucial element for achieving excellence. Therefore, not being able to consistently support the athlete financially often leads to a non-fulfilment of needs and a focus on short-term international results. On top of that, it limits the athlete to its full potential. Previous article: Competitive sports at what costs?

The commitment to a long-term investment will provide much needed financial stability and sustainability for high-performance athletes. In addition, by pursuing a more strategic and targeted approach to the allocation of these funds, athletes and coaches will be better equipped to support the development, which will demonstrate the greatest potential and commitment to achieve podium success. SportyCo enables athletes to fulfil their full potential by allocating short and long-term funds they will need in their climb to the top.

Relationships between a wide range of factors, including physical performance characteristics, psychological aspects and the financial aspect provide qualitative evidence for detailing the predictors of performance excellence. Nevertheless, as stated before, there are no guaranteed blueprints.


Bali, A. (2015) International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health; 1(6): 92-95.

Lorenz DS, Reiman MP, Lehecka BJ, Naylor A. (2013) What performance characteristics determine elite versus nonelite athletes in the same sport? Sports Health.;5(6):542-547. doi:10.1177/1941738113479763.

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