Do you remember the great match seventeen-year-old Maria Sharapova
played to win Wimbledon in 2004? It reminded me of the time Boris
Becker won Wimbledon in 1986 when he was seventeen. He had NO fear.
He just did it! Maria possessed this same quality. NO fear and pure
execution. She stayed consistently in a 'go for her shot' mindset.
She surprised me, too! I did not think she would maintain that type
of intensity for two sets against Serena. There was one opening
that Serena had in the second set when she pulled into the lead,
but Maria quickly blocked that opening with some creative shot-
making. It would have been interesting to see what would have
happened had Serena won the second set. Sharapova apparently did
not care to find out and quickly slammed the door shut in the
The most important lesson in this event is the unseen lesson.
Although you were watching a great physical athlete in Sharapova,
her sheer determination and ability to make good decisions at a
young age set the stage for this history-making upset. Not only
does she make decisions to practice relentlessly and stay
dedicated, but she has an unbelievable ability to keep going for
her shots (the absence of cautiousness). Either someone taught her
the importance of staying in a 'go for it' mindset or she
instinctively understands. My own instincts say she has always had
an innate sense of what she has to do.
You can bet she has made many decisions in past matches to go for
her shots . . .win or lose. I would also be willing to bet that
someone told her not to go for her shots when she was losing.
This is the typical pattern: If you win going for your shots...
Yes, that's the way to go! But, if you lose going for your
shots... No, that's terrible, slow down your shots! In
Sharapova's case she kept swinging until the balls began dropping
in the court with laser accuracy. And it all came together at
Wimbledon on national television!
Practice to improve, not to win! Sharapova is a perfect example
of practicing to improve. It's pretty obvious that she has been
practicing the art of going for her shots for years, regardless
of the failures.
Now, if a seventeen-year-old can do it, don't you think it's time
you get past this obstacle! :)