Watching the world’s leading tennis players this last two weeks at Wimbledon, there are some lessons that can be drawn about what it takes to excel when things really count.
The physical athleticism and technical skill aside it’s always striking to see that it’s the mental state, attitude and preparation that can make the all-important difference.
So why not draw some tips from the Wimbledon champions for whatever your next important match is?
Make sure you relax the day beforehand – you simply cannot work at pressure all the time and have enough in reserve when you have to tackle something that may demand everything you’ve got.
- As seen with Andy Murray’s coaching from Ivan Lendl – reduce the highs and lows of your emotional state. You may of course be nervous but don’t give way to over elation, anger or disappointment. Extreme emotions simply sap energy, take away from focus, and take time to recover from. Most importantly don’t beat yourself up!
- Have a strategy and a game plan, but be flexible and be prepared to change and adapt if it’s not working.
- Know your strengths and play to them, but be prepared to take risks at crucial times. Remember you’ve actually got to go for it – you can’t succeed with just a defensive posture.
- Be prepared to go the distance. You may face setbacks but you need to have the wherewithal and resilience to turn things around when they’re not going your way.
- Don’t project too far ahead. Stay with the next important moment because every small step counts.
- Probably most importantly - have an utter and unassailable belief that you can do it.
These tips are not a guarantee that you can just step into the elusive “zone” but it’s unlikely you’ll find that zone without them. Part of the key is in not trying to do it yourself – but trusting in your systems and faculties - and their capabilities, training and experience. We are at our best when our bodies, brains, mind, emotions and instincts are in harmony - all pulling in the same direction. When that happens the challenge for us is to let it happen and to ‘go for gold’.