The world’s best athletes have been through the rigors and trials of competition and come out better for it. They have weathered those storms of doubt that roll in when they lose and crested the waves of triumph when they win. They have overcome the odds to become champions, so it only makes sense that they might have a few things to teach us who aspire to be the best. Even those who are not looking to play sports at a professional level can learn from these top competitors and apply their words of wisdom to where we are right now. Let’s look at some of the top pearls from some of the top athletes.

It’s Just a Game

Alison Tetrick competes with Cylance Pro Cycling, and she offers many bits of advice for competitors. One of her key mantras is to tell herself that whether she wins or loses, she is only playing a game, and the stakes are not as high as they may seem. “Sports are a luxury,” she says, and that means that losing a race or a match is not the end of the world that it may feel like. There will always be another, and there will always be more important things to consider.

Are You Doing Your Best?

This is a question that Tetrick asks herself whenever she is competing. If she determines that she could not have done any better, then even if she lost, she congratulates herself on a job well done. If she finds that she could have improved and could have given more, then she pushes herself even harder to do just that. This is a method of operation that can apply to any aspect of our lives, and not just sports. If we aren’t giving our best, then why is that? Are we doing all we can and putting our best efforts forward? Asking ourselves these questions makes us better and makes us push toward greater achievements in everything.

Get Down the Basics

Michael Jordan famously said that practicing the wrong technique over and over again will not make you better but will only make you an expert at doing things the wrong way. He knew the importance of mastering the fundamentals, so he practiced the basic things constantly to ensure that he had them down before trying to master the more difficult, stylish or complex methods. Without a strong base upon which to build, the rest of your training will be faulty.

Work with Your Team

No matter what sport you are in, the value of teamwork cannot be overstated. Race car drivers have to rely on their pit crews. Gymnasts count on their coaches. Basketball players like Michael Jordan have to rely on their other team members to win the game. Michael Jordan recognized this when he said, “…teamwork and intelligence win championships.” If you are not leaning on and learning from others, then you will probably fail more than you otherwise would.

Do More Than Visualize

Emily Cook is an Olympian athlete, and she found value in not just visualizing her ski runs but also incorporating the other senses into her motivational preparations. Before she would push herself off from the starting line, she would imagine the feel of the wind, the smell of her environment and the sounds of the crowd. It is important to her to do more than simply visualize these moments, as she knew all these other factors would be a part of the experience and she would have to prepare herself for them.

When you go to compete, you have to be ready for anything, and you have to feel at home in your environment, so doing these kind of mental exercises to immerse yourself in the event before it happens can help keep you from being pulled out of your groove by something unexpected.

Update Equipment as Necessary

The top athletes know what equipment to use to have that competitive edge against the other players. They also know when it is time to update at equipment. Throughout his career, Tiger Woods’ golf bag has been endlessly examined and copied, and yet he knows the value of changing up golf clubs when something better comes along.

You can copy what other top athletes are doing or find your own high performance equipment by reading product reviews and detailed lists on what the best items are on the market today, using resources like Bat Critic to find the right tools for the job. Every sport has its equipment, whether it be for training or for playing the game and knowing what works best for you may take some trial and error. More often than not, though, you will learn by trying out what experienced athletes and industry experts have already tested and recommended to others.

Champion athletes don’t reach their career peaks on their own. They move up by standing on the backs of those who have come before them and learning from their successes and failures. You too can learn from the top athletes and do better because of what they have taught you.