Sam Stosur used hers to win the US Open. What are you going to use yours to do?
As news reports poured in that Samantha Stosur had beaten US powerhouse and 27-time Grand Slam winner, Serena Williams, and won the first Grand Slam title by an Australian woman in 31 years, I was struck by how much her victory was (as with most sport) more a win of Mindset than physical ability.
Played in front of Serena’s home crowd, this was a performance that few would have been game to dream of given Stosur’s previous battles with her mental demons. As Josh Massoud of The Daily Telegraph reported on September 13, 2011, “It was Stosur’s sheer refusal to lapse that impressed most, and suggested she had finally broken the mental shackles that have denied her for this long.” In the article, he quotes Stosur as saying, “I think I’ve kind of surprised myself with how much I have been able to mentally stay focused and bounce back in matches. It will just reinstate that belief and confidence in myself.”
The article goes on to say, “The unlikely key to Stosur’s release came in April after the Family Circle Cup. She entered as defending champ and then exited with a shocking and yet frustratingly typical 6-4 6-1 loss to world No.56 Elena Vesnina in just the third round.
“Lost for answers, Stosur bared her soul to Australian Institute of Sport performance psychologist, Ruth Anderson. ‘That was probably one of the more difficult times that I went through,’ Stosur said. ‘I’m sure there were times where I didn’t want to talk about anything and just forget about it. But I guess I didn’t. I had to believe that I was gonna feel like I could play my best tennis again. You’ve just got to get over that mental hurdle and those battles in your own head during matches when things aren’t going so well. It’s probably all things I already knew, but for someone to talk about it maybe in a different way, makes you realise things.’”
At the US Open, Stosur proved her point and demonstrated all she had learnt. “For sure it was difficult to stay focused,” she said. “It was probably the loudest I ever felt a crowd in my whole entire lifeâ€¦ It was definitely a quite overwhelming feeling… After that first set I kind of sat down and I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest, and I thought, ‘OK, I’m a set up now; I’ve got a chance to win one out of the next two and I’ve got a chance’. Things come into your mind. You can’t control what comes into your mind. But I guess you can control what you do with those thoughts.”
“Things come into your mind. You can’t control what comes into your mind. But I guess you can control what you do with those thoughts.” Well said! And…
“It’s probably all things I already knew, but for someone to talk about it maybe in a different way makes you realise things.”
Years of training, determination and sacrifice got Samantha Stosur to the US Open final but the one factor that got her across the line and made her a US Open Champion was Mindset.
Likewise, you can throw the best talent, technology or training solutions at a business problem but the one factor that is going to improve outcomes for you, your team and organisation is… You guessed it! Mindset.