Column: Launching factors for high performance

What makes an athlete rise above? What makes one achieve a higher level of performance than other teammates within the same program?

What makes an athlete rise above? What makes one achieve a higher level of performance than other teammates within the same program?

There are numerous inter-related determinants for success well beyond genetics. Here are 10 launching factors from a cross-section of local coaches:

Happy place

Olympic 1500-metre runner and now coach, Malindi Elmore, shares what makes her cross-country runner, Hannah Bennison, succeed.

“She is driven and disciplined, but loves running and it is her happy place so it comes naturally to her to work hard.”

Intrinsic drive

“I would say her greatest strength is her passion for the sport. She is committed in a way that I have not seen before in someone her age; she strives to be the best runner she can be but this drive is largely intrinsic.”

Work ethic

Reid Jenkins, Staff Technical Coach for Pinnacles Football Club (PFC), in charge of player development, scouting and coach mentoring explains, “The tangibles are, but not exclusively, WORK ethic, commitment, resilience, tenacity, being goal-oriented and having a strong desire for unstructured training.”


Jenkins makes it simple. “Take your mistakes seriously not personally. That is how you grow at sport — failure breeding success.”


Tama Corday, former UBC Thunderbird Varsity basketball point guard, Summerland Secondary School basketball coach and teacher, also runs the Mini Hoops program.

“They need to be confident. Sport is a game of mental toughness and a lapse of focus or belief will lead to weakness and perhaps failure. If there is a lapse, a confident athlete can move forward and refocus then allow their weakness or failure to make them stronger and fiercer.”


Corday adds a confident and dominant athlete must also be coachable.

“Criticism is the only way to get better and an athlete who is open to critique is way more likely to improve and develop. Many athletes are unable to handle being picked apart but it is the key to being better.”


Corday said self-motivation is a key to excellence.

“Every athlete is training on a team but which athlete is training at their peak performance and putting in hours on their own time?”

Extrinsic Motivation

Melissa and Michael Berrisford, coaches of TriPower Triathlon club find that “Athletes who excel are self-motivated and extrinsically motivated; genuinely seeking to learn as much information from their coaches, mentors, peers and experiences as possible.”

Athletic integrity

The Berrisfords share their philosophy of athletic integrity, meaning that “they always do their best, respect their sport and fellow competitors, balance ambition with patience while showing resilience at times when achievement is challenging.”

Little things

Chris Taneda, a seventh degree karate black belt, six-time national champion and four-time world champion who now trains athletes across the Okanagan said “I have noticed that it is the little things that make the difference at the higher levels of competitors. Taking care of the little details in training, preparation or in strategy. Competitors that understand this will actually put in a lot of smart work to be a little bit better. At the top, there is only a little difference, so to be the best, you must be a little bit better.”

Just Posted

Holiday bears off to new homes

Annual Morning Star December giveaway draws crowd on cold Saturday morning

Outbreak at Okanagan hospital

Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Meet two of BC’s tiniest service pups

Medical therapy dogs changed Princeton woman’s life

The Okanagan may not get snow for Christmas

You may not want to bet on having a White Christmas

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

Hurdles ahead for Sicamous off-road vehicle bylaw

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with district

FortisBC to lower natural gas rates in 2018

Rate changes to impact the Lower Mainland, Kootenays, Interior and Vancouver Island

Visit with Santa amidst the Big White snow

Snow lovers can head up to Big White this month to visit with Santa

Four-month-old baby girl critically injured in Toronto

Baby, a man and a woman in serious condition

Most Read