Monday, June 9, 2008

Staying in the moment

You may have seen 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic win the French Open this weekend.  What's amazing to me about professional tennis players and golfers -- besides their incredible athletic ability -- is their mental maturity at a young age.  

Take Ivanovic, as an example.  She lost in the finals of two other majors, and says she used that experience to help her in the French Open:

"Many, many people ask me, 'Oh, you want to forget last year's final?' But I don't, because it was a great learning experience."

According to the story, she's also found a way to stay focused and in the moment, a terrific lesson for young players:  

Ivanovic realized this: Part of her difficulty in those matches rested with either looking ahead - "Hey, maybe I can actually win this thing," she was thinking against Henin - or looking behind - failing to put a few key points out of her mind... She credits her strength and conditioning coach, Scott Byrnes, with helping find what she called a "tool" to make sure she stays focused on the court.  And it couldn't be simpler: Take the time to pause and breathe.

Here's a good story about Ivanovic and her powerful serve.