I often talk with my clients about what I believe are the three foundational "pillars" of athletic performance: sports skill development, strength & conditioning, and nutrition. But there's more you can bring to the court or field, regardless of your size, strength, or speed. I refer to it as "ACE."
ACE is my acronym for aggressiveness, confidence and energy. With ACE, you can reduce or neutralize an opponent's physical advantage and maximize your physical abilities. Needless to say, these effort-based qualities are important to your athletic performance, and ultimately, your success.
You've got to keep pushing and moving forward. It's difficult for a player to deal with an opponent who maintains an aggressive style of play from start to finish. If you miss a shot, take another. If your shot gets blocked, take it harder at your defender next time. If you make a mistake, learn from it and keep playing hard. Put pressure on the competition.
A work ethic that incorporates quality, technically correct repetition will help you develop an unshakeable faith in yourself, regardless of the situation. If you miss a shot, take another, and believe it will go in. You're going to make mistakes. We all do. But winners learn from their mistakes and turn them into opportunities. Learn how you can boost self-confidence.
Rev that engine. When appropriate, don't hesitate to push the tempo. Step on the gas and play with a "high motor" to wear your opponent out. Hustle all the time, but stay in control. Strength training and proper nutrition are essential to your energy level, so take care of your body.
Your opponent can impact your game. That's the nature of sports. But only you have control over your aggressiveness, confidence, and energy. Don't allow your opponent to take them away from you.