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Low Expectations/High Performance Standards

Courtney Nguyen,  Senior Writer, WTA Insider interviews Daria Abramowicz, a mental performance coach who works with newly minted 2020 French Open Women’s Winner, 19 year old, Iga Swiatek. Swiateck is a very talented player who has worked with Abramowicz for the past two years. Interview bullet points:

1) The younger generation is more comfortable with talking about mental health and the challenges that arise when you are a top athlete.

2) There are many outside challenges that arise besides performance that can add  pressure. A few of these are, being a a high profile public figure and added demands on your time, business obligations, relationships with coaching team, media obligations. There are multiple complex and potentially stressful  areas outside of practice and playing.

3) A key phrase that has helped  Swiatek be fully present on court is, “Have low expectations and high standards.” This implies she has done the work she needs to do to be fully prepared to play to the best of her abilities, mentally, physically technically, and leaves the expectations, “should, have to, must, ought to’s” outside of the court. As more and more athlete’s learn these tools their ability to play at the highest levels during the most challenging moments will be available to them.


Osaka, Focusing On What It Takes To Win

WTA Insider Podcast, senior writer Courtney Nguyen chats with Naomi Osaka, who recently won the U.S.Open Women’s final. Through her victory, 22 year old Osaka, becomes the first women in 25 years to win a U.S. Open final after losing the first set. This was Osaka’s second U.S. Open title and third Grand Slam victory. In  the podcast Osaka discusses how the Covid quarantine was useful as she was able to meditate, and train productively during the tournament lay offs. It gave her time to lay the ground work to shift her mindset to a positive focus. Osaka received a lot of media attention during the Open as she wore seven different Covid protective masks bearing the names of black victims of police violence, to bring awareness to the issue of racial inequality. The interview touches on how Osaka’s activism has been a motivating factor for her and she sees the potential for positive change.


Covid-19 and tips for athlete's, coaches & parents

It is towards the end of August and Covid-19 is continuing to be front and center in our lives. This article from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology website is a useful resource for support for athlete’s, coaches, and parents. It is unfortunate that this athletic school year will be hampered by the restrictions that are necessary to ensure athlete’s, coaches and fans safety are put first. But as some point this virus will move to the background as you continue to pursue your athletic goals.

In the meantime, as an athlete whether you participate on a team, club, or are involved in an individual sport, what are you doing to stay motivated and in shape mentally and physically during this time? I invite you to e-mail me

@ sprthlth@earthlink.net with your mental performance questions and I will write the next few blog entries offering thoughts, suggestions, resources to your questions. Stay involved!

What is your volleyball team doing to stay connected during Covid-19? Photo by Vince Fleming, courtesy of Unsplash

How is the team keeping their passing skills and team communication up to date during Covid-19? Photo by Chris Moore, courtesy of Unsplash

Are player's staying focused on their athletic goals during Covid-19? Photo by Jeffrey F Lin, courtesy of Unsplash