Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sometimes, stepping back is all what is needed to be at your best

Ash Barty won women's French open singles title yesterday. Seeing a new champion is always refreshing in a game like tennis that's dominated by top rankers.

While Barty's victory was sweet, what i found inspiring in her story leading to the French open title is her decision to step away from tennis in 2014. The reason she stepped away was because she felt overwhelmed by all the pressures that came with playing tennis. As Barty said:
“I never closed any doors, saying, ‘I’m never playing tennis again.’ For me, I needed time to step away, to live a normal life because this tennis life certainly isn’t normal. I think I needed time to grow as a person, to mature,”
She took to Cricket and played to the level of Big Bash league before making a comeback again 3 years back. Her former cricket coach Andy Richards knew she was interested in Cricket and fed her 150 or so balls via the bowling machine. She missed just a few of those showing glimpse of her immense talent.

On her return to Tennis, she was ranked 623rd in the world post her comeback and 3 years later, she would be ranked number 2 in the world post her grand slam win.

Few things worth learning from Ash Barty:
1. One needs to be self-aware and honest with self to realize the state of our own mind and decide when to push-forward and when to just stop. In our daily grind at work, we often keep such self-awareness dormant and prioritize work goals over health and rejuvenation.

2. In addition to being self-aware, it is important to be decisive in the matter of giving on-self sufficient breaks. This lack of decisiveness often cause us to burn-down without us even knowing the damage such stress causes to us.

3. It is always a wise move to have a Plan B. Ash's Plan B was Cricket that probably evolved because she was connected enough with people who offered her the second chance in a field unknown to her. Building networks within and outside of one's field of work helps.

Be smart to give yourself a break once in a while. In a long run, it will make us a better at whatever we choose to do.

What did you learn from this remarkable sportsperson ?

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