What makes an athlete good at a particular sport? What are the qualities that help him or her to be better suited for a sport and perform well? It is a fact that being tall helps a basketball player, and being agile helps a football player. Baseball needs good hand-eye coordination while soccer needs reasonable sprinting and ball control. The qualities of an athlete should be in-line with the kind of sport he/she wants to pursue as it helps him/her perform well.

So, let us look at some of the qualities possessed by athletes from different popular sports.

Basketball:

Basketball players are usually known for their height. Tall players have an advantage while shooting as well as while defending. The average height of a basketball player as per NBA is 6ft 7in and many players are taller than 7 feet. Though height is a major criterion, there are exceptions and many players below the average height have been successful in the NBA.

Being tall helps but is not enough in basketball. One needs to be fast, agile, and reliable. You need to change directions quickly. Jumping abilities are also of great importance as it helps you to be clear of your opponents while shooting and while defending it helps you to block your opponent.

Strength is essential as you need to be able to manoeuvre the ball while your opponents are trying to block you from advancing. Imagine the power required to drive through multiple players for a lay-up. Jumping high and shooting three-pointers from a distance also requires strength. You also need to have sound judgment for shooting and defending. Good teamwork is essential to create chances for shooting, so the strategy is crucial in this sport as well.

Basketball skills –

Soccer:

Soccer players are known for their athletic abilities. A soccer player needs to run fast, change directions quickly, and have reasonable ball control. As soccer is a contact sport, the player should also be healthy. Since the use of legs is primary, having strong legs helps not only to kick the ball harder and run faster but also for endurance. Though the use of hands is not allowed in soccer, upper body strength and control is paramount for both defending and attacking. Jumping abilities are also crucial for heading, which is an essential way of scoring.

Though height might not be a key aspect in soccer, being tall can help in heading the ball and physically dominating the opponent. There are players like Messi who are shorter than most other players and still manage to score goals by heading. At the same time, tall goalkeepers have the advantage of having a better reach to protect the opponents from scoring.

Additionally, soccer is a team sport, in which the position of your teammates matter for passing the ball around and scoring. So, positional awareness and understanding of soccer strategies are also essential.

Soccer skills –

American football:

A football player requires a great deal of strength and endurance due to the physical nature of the sport. Power is key in football as players can tackle and knock other players down. It is essential to be agile and quick in this sport. It helps to have good reflexes. Running and jumping abilities are very important to be able to evade the opponents.

You must be good at passing the ball accurately to your teammates as there can be short and quick passes as well as long throws. Similarly, catching the ball properly is important as the opponents can get the ball if you drop it. Throwing and catching require exceptional strength and accuracy while opponents are trying to steal the ball from you. So, you need to be smart and judge your opponent’s movements as well.

The height of a player can be a useful quality. A tall player can physically dominate his shorter opponent with his size and reach. There are exceptions to this though. Quick players are usually more agile and can beat a taller player with their quickness. Again, just like soccer, positional awareness, and strategic thinking is important in football.

American football skills –

Baseball:

Baseball players need to possess good hand-eye coordination. This will help them to become a great hitter. Hitting also requires good arm power and strength. Sprinting is also essential for making those runs. Pitching also requires a great deal of arm strength as you need to throw the ball with high power. Pitching also needs skill and accuracy to beat the hitter.

The ball thrown by the pitcher comes at high speed towards the catcher. So, good reflexes are required for catching. In baseball, fielding requires sprinting as well as throwing abilities. You need to be able to retrieve the ball quickly and throw it back accurately to the base. Right timing and co-ordination are required from the players to help the team win.

Baseball Skills –

Ice hockey:

Ice hockey is a contact sport and hence requires a player to have a significant amount of control and strength. Ice hockey players need to be very athletic and agile. Ice skating skills should be second nature to the players as they need to handle the puck with the hockey stick while skating.

You should be skilful with the hockey stick to be able to pass or score. Physical size may not be a critical factor in ice hockey as smaller players can be as agile and quick, if not more, as more prominent players. Speed and skill will give a player the edge to beat the opponent. Teamwork and coordination are also essential in ice hockey as you need to pass the puck around to break the opponent’s defence and create goal-scoring chances.

Ice Hockey Skills –