Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Serena Williams

In 1989 my wife and I moved to Phoenix and while there, I read in the local newspaper there was a local Pima Indian runner who was considered Olympic potential. In fact, he was so good that Billy Mills, the famous Native American who won a gold medal in the 10,000 metre run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, made a special trip to Phoenix to run with him. The following week I visited the reservation and met with the young man and four of his friends who were all cross-country runners. This group included the young man’s 14 year old brother who was also a runner, and was considered to have the potential to be even better than his older brother. At one of our sessions I asked the young 14-year old runner why he had been losing his most recent races and at first he didn’t want to comment. But then it finally surfaced. He was purposely losing those races, he told us, because he didn’t want to break his brother’s records. When that information surfaced, his older brother stood up and gave him permission to break his records. After receiving that permission, the young man once again began running like his former self and began breaking all records. Including those of his brother.

I bring this up because tomorrow, July 15th, 2017, according to USA Today, “Venus Williams will be competing to win a sixth Wimbleton trophy and will become the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era. That feat would knock her sister Serena from that record, which she secured in January in winning the Australian Open at 35.” Let’s only hope that Serena has given her 37-year old sister permission to beat her opponent, Garbine Muguruza, and take over the record.

Almost everyone is in agreement that when athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony, they will perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. And if true, watch for Serena Williams to win almost every tournament she enters, including the Austrailian Open, because she recently became engaged to Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit.

Maria Sharapova, 26, has a budding romance with 26-year old tennis pro Grigor Dimitrov and she couldn’t be happier.  According to USA TODAY, “Sharapova said it’s not about age…she needs a man who understands the demands of her profession, respects her space and allows her to let her hair down.”  If my theory is correct, that the happier an athlete is and the more his or her life is in harmony the better they perform at their sport, then watch for Sharapova to win over Serena Williams.  It won’t be easy, but she’ll do it.

Let me repeat that because it’s so important: WHEN YOU GET ANGRY, YOU GIVE AWAY YOUR POWER.  And most of the time, the anger is misdirected and has little or nothing to do with the sporting event. For example, let’s assume that Serena Williams had an issue (argument?) with a friend the night before competing against Samantha Stosur in the US Open women’s final. Because she didn’t clear the issue with her friend, she erupted in anger at the chair umpire, just as she had done before, and also just as before, she was defeated. You often see this in other sports as well, such as when a defensive tackle in the NFL gets into an altercation with the offensive tackle on the other team, or an NBA basketball player gets into a fight with a member of the other team. These types of outbursts take the focus off winning and create baggage that affects performance. So the lesson to be learned is, never allow an issue to fester since it will never go away. It will only become more intense.  Issues must be addressed directly and resolved. Or at least, begin the process of resolving them.


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