Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why Winners Win at …by Nick Summers

Andre Agassi was losing: a lot. After a meteoric start to his professional tennis career, with the best return and fastest reflexes in the game, Agassi had become a chronic underachiever by the early 1990s, dropping early matches and choking in finals alike.

Brad Gilbert was the anti-Agassi, a moderately talented junker who in his own career had eked out matches he had no right to win. His book about tactics, just published, was titled Winning Ugly. At dinner in Key Biscayne, Agassi wanted an honest assessment of his game. Why did he keep losing to less skilled players?

Gilbert excoriated him for trying to play with perfection. Instead of risking a killer shot on every point, why not keep the ball in play and give the other guy a chance to lose? "It's all about your head, man," Gilbert said, as Agassi recalls in his memoir, Open. "With your talent, if you're fifty percent game-wise, but ninety-five percent head-wise, you're going to win. But if you're ninety-five percent game-wise and fifty percent head-wise, you're going to lose, lose, lose."

"There are more players that have the talent to be the best in the world than there are winners," says Timothy Gallwey, the author of several books about the mental side of tennis, golf, and other pursuits. "One way of looking at it is that winners get in their own way less. They interfere with the raw expression of talent less. And to do that, first they win the war against fear, against doubt, against insecurity--which are no minor victories."

This information comes to us from the July 18, 2011 Newsweek article. Thanks to Theresa for sharing with us. We find it particularly interesting since we are always looking for information about how the brain works, the super computer for our bodies. We agree with Gallwey that the victories over fear, doubt and insecurities are indeed major ones.

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