Angelique Kerber: Going from Grit to Great!
Much has been written about mental toughness in sports…
Athletes talk about it, coaches talk about it, commentators talk about it and all athletes credit success to it. But what is it?
What exactly is mental toughness?
If you can define “it” in tangible terms, you can design a program or strategies to improve that “it” factor.
The best way to define mental toughness is grittiness.
Grit is having a sustained passion for tennis, the perseverance to work through all obstacles and the understanding adversity moves you closer to goal achievement.
Every tennis player experiences the heartache of loss, mistakes and missed opportunities but it is the very next step after adversity that determines whether or not you achieve athletic success.
Too often, tennis plays become despondent after a loss; they lose confidence and question their abilities. These tennis players become de-motivated and demoralized after losing which produces lackluster effort in practices.
When you see losing as evidence of your lack of ability progress towards your goals is halted.
Grit sees obstacles as necessary tools to achieve success.
For example, improving your serve requires that you fault on hundreds of serves in practice. Each attempt provides feedback that moves you closer to your desired objective… a quality, powerful serve.
In fact, it is impossible to have a great serve without the lessons learned from past faults and wild serves.
It is grit that enables you to push forward and see results as feedback. Grit allows you to learn on the job without becoming discouraged.
Grit in Gear
Angelique Kerber, who turned pro in 2003, competed in her first Grand Slam final at the 2016 Australian Open. Kerber entered the tournament as a seventh-seed and pulled off a huge upset beating No. 1 ranked Serena Williams in the Final 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Kerber’s grittiness was on display throughout the tournament and Williams took notice.
WILLIAMS: “She [Kerber] had an attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from, just to always stay positive and never give up.”
Kerber’s grit enabled her to stay motivated and push towards her Grand Slam goal. Kerber was able to “stay the course” despite only having reached the semi-finals twice in her previous 32 attempts. It was grit that helped Kerber see the big picture, understand that success is a marathon, not a sprint and that there will be bumps along the journey.
KERBER: “Of course you will have some loses in your career, as well as tough moments. But you must believe that you can do it.”
Kerber is a excellent example of how grit helps you grind you way to success!
Tardio Tips: Strategy for Grit Growth
Grit is an attitude that requires attention to grow.
There are 4 steps in growing grit:
- Assess your current level of play. What do you need to improve to accomplish your goals?
- Create a plan. How will you go about implementing these changes?
- Collect & analyze the data. Did these changes positively affect your competitive performance?
- Define the goal – Do you need to “stay the course” to make these changes stick or adjust your plan? What is the next step?
This method will help for focus on positive solutions to adversity instead of allowing negative emotions distract you from achieving your goals.
Grit is the secret weapon, that the pro’s know, leads to great!