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Success of Athletes: Nature or Nurture?

June 21, 2023
byTJ976 views

We marvel at the physical prowess and exceptional success of athletes who break records and win championships. We dream of reaching the pinnacle of their respective sports. 

However, some arguments need to be addressed. 

There has been an ongoing debate about whether genes are a factor in the success athletes enjoy. 

Is there truth to the claims? Or is it just a made-up of people who are jealous of the success they long to have?

Is Genetics a Factor in the Success of Athletes?

Very Well Fit pointed out that genetics is a huge factor in shaping an individual’s potential in sports. If paired with training, diet, and proper conditioning, unlocking the best of your abilities is possible.

Genetics influences our body such as overall strength, muscle size, muscle fiber composition, flexibility, and other reasons to be athletic. This means that the sky is the limit if you have good genes.

So, yes. Genes are a factor in becoming a successful athlete. But if you only rely on your genes in achieving greatness and success like successful athletes have, then you are in for a slap of reality.

Training plays a vital role in athletic development, regardless of an individual’s genetic advantages. While good genes may provide a head start, training is essential for optimizing performance, honing skills, and reaching one’s full potential.

A person may have good muscle structure or a strength worth admiring because of their genes. But genetics do not have such a great impact in terms of balance, agility, reaction time, and accuracy. These are the skills that needed to be trained.

For instance, LeBron James, who is a freak of nature. He is enjoying longevity in the NBA. But without his dedication and body conditioning, he will not last long in the league, competing with the best of the best.

In other words, proper training and conditioning are still important to anyone who aspires to be a successful athlete.

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Genes Not Good Enough?

Some people lack the genes to stand out and become the athletes that found success in their chosen sport. But there is good news, even if you lack in such department.

Again, success is not determined by genes alone. Many factors can also open the door to greatness.

Stephen Curry, for instance, was a skinny guard, and prone to injury despite inheriting his father’s shooting prowess. Yet, he was determined to prove to his haters that he deserve to be in the league.

You see, mindset and determination are some of the factors that can tell if you can be a successful athlete or not. Without these, no matter how good your genes are, you will surely fail.

An example is the baseball player Tim Raines Jr. Although his father was a legendary figure in the sport, he lacks the heart to achieve or surpass what his dad had. As a result, Tim Jr found no success in the major league.

Those that lack the genes can make up for:

Strategic Training and Coaching

Working with experienced coaches and trainers who understand the nuances of the sport can make a significant difference. They can design customized training programs. This will help you focus on skill development, technique improvement, and physical conditioning based on your needs.

Specialization and Sport Selection

Choosing a sport that aligns with your strengths and interests is key to your success. Some sports may be more suited to certain body types, skill sets, or attributes. 

By carefully selecting a sport that matches their abilities and characteristics, athletes can maximize their chances of excelling and finding their competitive edge.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Successful athletes are constantly learning and evolving. They study their sport, analyze top performers, and seek opportunities for improvement.

By identifying weaknesses and focusing on skill development, athletes can make significant strides in their performance. Adaptability is also crucial, as athletes need to adjust to different game scenarios, opponents, and evolving trends in their sport.

Mental and Emotional Preparation

Building mental resilience, managing pressure, and maintaining emotional well-being is essential for athletic success. 

Athletes with less favorable genetics can cultivate mental strength through techniques, like visualization, mindfulness, and goal-setting. Building a support system of coaches, mentors, and teammates who provide guidance and encouragement can also make a difference.

Persistence and Perseverance

Success rarely comes overnight.  Athletes that are now living a life of success know it. 

As an aspirant, you must be prepared for setbacks and challenges along the way. Persistence, perseverance, and the ability to bounce back from failures are critical traits for success. 

By embracing failures as learning opportunities and staying committed to their goals, athletes can make steady progress and achieve their desired outcomes.


The question of whether athletic success can be inherited is a fascinating and multifaceted one. While genetic factors can certainly contribute to an individual’s athletic potential, other factors also affect one’s success.

While good genes may provide a foundation for athletic potential, training remains a crucial aspect of athletic development. The way you think, the way you train, and your determination to grow is also a factor.

Do not let a bad gene ruin your dreams. Strive harder and achieve it!

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