7 Mental Keys for Unlocking Your Athlete’s Potential

Mindset | Sports Performance


micah kurtz

Micah Kurtz was named the 2016 National Strength Coach of the Year by the NSCA. Micah has just started a new position as Assistant Athletics Director/ Director of Strength, Conditioning & Athletic Development at Windermere Preparatory School. Previously, he spent 9 years as the Director of Strength, Conditioning and Athletic Development at AC Flora High School in Columbia, South Carolina. In the past 5 years, the school has won 12 state championships and the school was named the #1 athletic program of the year by The State newspaper in both 2014 & 2015. Coach Kurtz also serves as the Strength and Conditioning Consultant Coach to the 9-time high school basketball national champion Oak Hill Academy. In this position, he designs and assists in the implementation of the team’s comprehensive long-term athletic development program. Kurtz was also named the South Carolina High School Strength Coach of the Year in both 2013 & 2014 by the state coaches association. He is an active speaker at strength and fitness conferences across the U.S. and has delivered presentations in China, Hong Kong and Mexico. Additionally, he assists both USA Football and USA Basketball in athletic development education. Kurtz is the state director for both the NSCA and the NHSSCA. You can connect with him on Instagram or visit his website www.TheAthleteMaker.com

// unlock your athlete’s potential by crushing doubt

Doubt is the cancer that kills dreams and prevents individuals from pursuing and achieving their ambitious goals.

Dream big. Starting quarterback. All-State. College scholarship. Academic All-American. Professional career. As a coach, encourage your student-athletes to set big, scary goals. Once you have given them permission to set mountain-sized goals, make sure to teach them the recipe to succeed. Teach them to understand the key principles of self-improvement.

High achievers don’t focus on the goal that inevitably compares their ability to their competition. Instead, high achievers focus on what they can control. They focus on maximizing their own individual potential.

By shifting focus from major milestones and a comparative status label to the simple ever-moving target of maximizing individual potential, we allow our student-athletes to remove the doubt associated with whether a goal is possible or not and to focus on something realistic: personal best.

Focus on being the best at getting better. This concept is a staple in Performance Coach Jeremy Boone’s leadership program and is a key principle for becoming a high achiever.

Focusing on maximizing individual potential also accomplishes something counterintuitive. By removing set numbers, destinations, and ceilings, a student-athlete can potentially dream up even bigger goals (like the potential to be a hall-of-famer instead of just another pro). Many goals equate to a destination that will need to be moved upon accomplishing the goal, but maximizing your individual potential is a lifelong pursuit with mere milestones along the way.


Equally important, being the best he or she can be affords that person a realistic daily goal of doing as much as necessary to get better each and every day. Focusing on improving in the present while pursuing an ambitious goal allows the student-athlete to enjoy the process of practice and sacrifice.

This perspective also allows the student-athlete to live with no regrets so long as they can look back on their athletic career knowing they did everything he/she could to maximize potential.

Below are seven rules for success and achievement that any coach can use to teach student-athletes more about high achievement and athletic improvement.

// 7 mental keys to unlock your athlete’s potential

1. Chase Your Dreams and Pursue Your Passions

Make sure your goals align with daily activities you enjoy and care about deeply. If not passionate about your craft and determined to pursue your goals, then the best case scenario: you will quit. Worst case scenario: you spend years of hard work pursuing a goal only to obtain it and realize you don’t really want that thing or life.

2. Surround Yourself with People You Want to Be Like

Jim Rohn tells us, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you need to improve your work ethic, surround yourself with friends who are highly motivated. If you need to be more positive, find someone who is happy-go-lucky.


To accomplish something great, you need to be willing to be different than other students. You cannot let others negatively influence you or distract you from what is important to you. Surrounding yourself with good influences is directly related to effective use of your time. Individuals in your circle need to contribute value to you, and you need to bring value to the people in your circle.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

You control the following:

  • How hard you work
  • Your attitude
  • How you treat others

Don’t stress about what you cannot control.

4. Set Big Goals, but Focus on Maximizing Your Own Individual Potential

The end goal is a byproduct of the daily work necessary to reach that goal. Become the best at getting better.

5. Embrace Discomfort

Comfort is the enemy of growth. If achieving a goal were easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn’t be worth sacrificing for. Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency.

6. Don't Share Your Goals with People Who Aren't Going to Support, Encourage, and Help


Sharing goals is an intimate thing. You should not share them unless you know the person will support you…or unless you are determined enough not to care when people tell you your goal is impossible. The vast majority of people have given up on their dreams and many of them don’t want to see you achieve your dream.

7. Repeat Rule #1: Chase Your Dreams and Pursue Your Passions

By learning how to chase your dreams and pursue your passions, you will continuously succeed on a daily basis. You will repeatedly find success in your life. Your athletic and academic career will definitely come to an end at some point, but if you know how to chase your dreams, you will be ready to succeed in whatever excites you next in life. 

Are you a better coach after reading this?

More coaches and athletes than ever are reading the TrainHeroic blog, and it’s our mission to support them with usefull training & coaching content. If you found this article useful, please take a moment to share it on social media, engage with the author, and link to this article on your own blog or any forums you post on.

Be Your Best,

TrainHeroic Content Team




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