The 4 Virtues Of An Athlete: Mastery


While I was growing up, I was that kid who was always anal about how things should or shouldn’t be done. I needed things done the way I wanted them and done quickly as well. Now that is a spoiled Justin Burns who ended up getting smacked in the face by reality quickly. The things in life are not handed to you, they are never free, and you have to work for the things you want.

That was a reality I  was faced with when no one would give me what I demanded. I was what Robert L Moore would have called a high chair tyrant. If you want to achieve mastery in anything you are going to have to get rid of the thought that things will just happen for you.

Moving into my new mindset was hard, but it was also liberating. It was vital for me to find something I was good at. No one wants to achieve mastery in something they despise. That was the first step. Finding something I was good at and liked to do. Along with game strength training, and football.

These two things went well together, but I was incredibly green, I had no idea how to do anything correctly, but all I knew was that these things were something I could do every day with a smile on my face. We will go through what mastery means and how to obtain it in the upcoming paragraphs.

What Is Mastery?

The dictionary definition of master it is this, “comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment.” But it is so much more than that. It is so essential to understanding mastery is a journey, not a destination.

Mastery is the pursuit of total understanding of a subject. It is making that thing closer to second nature as possible. A complete extension of yourself. Mastery can be seen in all forms of expression, but as an athlete, it has to be nailing your technique and making it look effortless. The goal would be to make people ask the question, “how do they make it look so simple?”

There are many ways to obtain mastery, and each method will be unique to your journey. The point is that to be considered a great athlete you must want to obtain mastery, you must want to master the skills of whatever sport you are competing in, the pure determination to do so is your first step in actually achieving it.

How Do You Obtain It?

Obtaining mastery is simple, all you need is practice and a little bit of patience. That’s it ends with the story. Ya right, there is far more to it than just some practice and patience. You are going to need few more things on your path to mastery.

You are going to need a coach and a mentor. To me, that means a guide and a teacher. You may have a person who is showing signs of mastery, and you want to learn from them, but they are usually a teammate you looked up to as you moved into the sport. Then, of course, you are going to need a coach, someone who has extensive knowledge of the thing you want to master. They have to be compatible with you because we all know, that a toxic athlete-coach relationship serves nothing but stress.


Practice, everyone needs to practice to get better, but the quality of training is essential as well. You should be practicing your skills with precision. We all know the saying. “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” Now that saying could not be more accurate. You want to train as close to perfect as possible. What that means in to make sure your form and technique are nailed down.

The second aspect of mastery is patience. We all know that the best stuff on this earth take time. Nothing good ever happens quickly. You have to be patient on this journey because it is going to be a long and frustrating one. Again the reason I am calling this a journey is because if you re focused on the end too much you will likely lose the patience necessary to achieve mastery. When you think of it as a journey, you can break it down into a single step. One day at a time, practice and know your moving in the right direction.

Using Persistence

Let’s face some facts here. You are going to fail. I hate to be the one to tell you his but you will fail. There is no doubt that life will through its obstacles in your way and you will trip. Everyone fails. It is how you respond to that failure that will determine if you achieve mastery or not.

People think that because you have gained some knowledge as you move on your journey that things will be all clear sailings moving forward but the facts are it won’t be. Life has a way of serving you humble pies when you get a little too cocky. These failures and roadblocks are actually good for you.

They will develop your ability to be persistent. When you are on a righteous journey, one that connects with you deeply. If the thing you want to master is truly your “why” then adding persistence should not be difficult.

Get back on the path, start the climb back up the mountain and move forward no matter what happens on the road to mastery, be persistent.


Ok, you know you need to achieve mastery in order to be a well-rounded athlete, all you need to do is find the right support system, practice perfectly, add in a little patience, and have some persistence and you will achieve that mastery in due time.

Some may say its easy to write about achieving mastery and you are right, it is easy to write about it. It is however up to you to go put actions toward it. Reading this article will not get you on the road to mastery. So stop reading and get to practice!



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