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What makes a winner

Words: Andre Bekker, Coach

Chris Froome, Rafael Nadal, Michael Schumacher, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Lionel Messi ... we read about them and see them on TV. We idolise these sportsmen and women and follow them. So what do they have that we admire so much, and can we take something from them and incorporate it in our lives and be winners too?

What makes a winner

There are some clear attributes winners have.


That’s your make up, also referred to as your pedigree. By definition, genetics is, in short, 'the common factor of qualities'. If you want to be a cyclist, for example, you need to be built in a certain way; have long or short twitch muscles, a bone structure that is light and strong and a power-to-weight ratio suitable for climbing or sprinting. If you are a tall guy and weigh 85 kg, you are just not going to be able to keep up with someone like Chris Froome.


How badly do you want it? Winners have a mental toughness to them that redefines commitment; they are single minded. They are so hungry that they don’t find reasons why things cannot be done. They find reasons why it can be done and don’t question obstacles, they deal with it as a matter of fact. They are self-centered, calm and go about things with a purpose, one single purpose, to win, period! Often at whatever cost, as we have seen with Lance Armstrong. There is no such thing as a friendly, happy-go-lucky winner.


I believe that your environment is a massive contributor to your success. Many successful people in business and sport come from hard childhoods. This has made them hungry to succeed. Other successful people come from very supportive and positive parents, who from a very early age created an environment that is conducive to growth and achievement. These parents normally come from a successful environment themselves. This environment is distinctly different to one where the parents force their child to achieve when they haven’t achieved anything, ever.

What makes a winner

Mental approach

Your mental approach will either make or break you, and is commonly referred to as BMT (big match temperament). When the gun goes off, what happens to your constitution? Many highly talented people instantly crumble, while many mediocre athletes excel. How do you deal with the pressure that your environment and supporters put on you, and how does that line up with your expectations? There is nothing like sport to expose who you really are and what you are made of.


Lastly, successful athletes love what they do. They are extremely passionate and when you speak to them you can feel their passion. With the passion comes the drive and willingness to put in the hard work and long hours needed to be a winner.
I believe that all these features play an important role in all the top-performing athletes and, for that matter, successful businessmen. So if you want to excel, be it at work or in sport, my question to you is do you want to achieve results or are you making excuses why you're not at the top of your game? Remember, success is not only defined in winning but in the effort and commitment you display towards achieving your own stretch goals.
More information
If you have any questions or need advice on coaching, please email Andre Bekker on or visit http://5thdimensioncoaching.co.za