Wimbledon 2016 finals challenging moments

 In Tennis
Serena_Williams_Wimbledon

Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org

If you didn’t get to watch much of Wimbledon this year here’s a recap: seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was beat in the semi-finals by Milos Raonic, Andy Murray took home the men’s singles trophy and Serena Williams tied the open-era world record of 22 grand slams after winning the women’s singles title. It was great a grand slam. There were many ups and downs; as is the case for most grand slams.

In the finals, Angelique Kerber played well against Serena Williams and Milos Raonic played well against Andy Murray. It just wasn’t their time to win. Although Angelique and Milos both showed great tennis abilities they definitely had to content with moments of nerves. Understandable though, right? It is Wimbledon! It seemed like Angelique was struggling with Serena’s serve and Milos was struggling with Murray’s serve, tie breakers and volleying. These are the some of the challenges of being a tennis player but in order for Angelique and Milos to win a grand slam final, these are challenges that they must get better at dealing with. I watched both finals and no one unraveled but it was pretty clear that these challenges effected both players ability to stay strong and in the match.

There are very few ‘perfect’ matches but those that come pretty close occur with player like Williams and Murray (Djokovic, Nadal and Federer). So how do they do it and how can you do it? A strong physical game is important but it’s as important to have a strong mental game. For example, dealing with Serena’s serve would take practicing serve return but also the ability to reset between each and every point. Allowing the challenge of returning Serena’s serve creep into your psyche and stay there would continue to negatively impact how you return the ones thereafter. Sometimes, even trying to strategize how to do it differently doesn’t help. Why? You get caught up in that thinking and lessen your ability to be able to be present and play the game. Milos missed so many volley’s during his match. Imagine if after 1 or 2 he was mindful enough to realize this, take a couple of deep breaths, refocus and play.

Don’t get me wrong, Angelique and Milos played great but to get to the next level they have to play better and while some of that has to do with their physical ability, it largely has to do with their mental inability to cope in a way that keeps them mentally strong and in the match. Just as you’ve seen Serena’s physical game get stronger, you’ve seen her mental game get stronger but she’s had to work on both. Whether something good or bad happens, your head is part of the reaction or response. The difference is that when something good happens, we don’t need to do much about it or with it. That’s why we have to learn how to deal with the challenging moments even when those challenging moments aren’t currently occurring; because they will. Figuring out how to deal with those moments is part of what’s get tennis players like Serena and Andy to the top.

Serena congrats on your Wimbledon win and also tying the world record of 22 grand slams. Andy congrats on winning your second Wimbledon. Angelique and Milos congrats on playing so well in the finals.

 

Dr. Michelle Cleere
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, Dr. Michelle Cleere helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sports Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller line, Beating the Demons, helps clients develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. As a 15-year USAT Coach, she developed simple and effective tools to mentally train her athletes, and they are used by coaches around the world. She is a professor at John F. Kennedy University where she teacher her students to use the mind as an ally to improve performance.
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