With the pandemic suddenly stopping all activities and interactions worldwide, many people felt directionless and unknown about the end of this. One such person was the legend, Venus Williams. Williams recently wrote about how this pandemic made her lose her focus from tennis and how she got it back.
According to the American, her dad is one of her biggest supporters and her critique. He is always present at all her practices despite being 78 years old. Her dad always pushes her to do her best and makes sure she is at her best in everything.
“He has always held an incredibly high standard for how I practice and, even more importantly, my attitude while training. Everything is intentional, from how I strike the ball right down to how I walk. When he comes on the court, I know I have to BRING IT.”, Wrote the 40 years old.
All of this changed when the lockdown was imposed, and all movement stopped. Luckily, Venus found a place to practice. Her dad could not come due to the high risk of catching the virus.
With her dad not around, Venus Williams found herself slacking at the game’s intricacies and taking things lightly. She started entertaining conference calls on the court and having long water breaks. Another thing that affected her state of mind was the unknown. Without any information about the upcoming events and knowing when she would get to play, she had no set goals. This made her slack even more.
“With Dad gone and no tournaments in sight…well you know what they say, when the cat’s away, the mice will play! Water breaks got longer. I started showing up to the court on conference calls and worse still. I hadn’t set any goals. Instead, to save me from disappointment, I told myself that tennis could be canceled for the entire year. I didn’t realize that the laser focus my dad has insisted on my whole life was slowly unraveling.”, Williams wrote.
“I Got Off Of The Phone”: Venus Williams
After certain months of confusion and compromised training, Venus realized that she was not actually giving it her all. It felt like cheating on herself as nobody was there to monitor her performance and no opponent to provide her with a fight. She soon made up her mind to get back to the standards that her dad had set.
“The competition would have to be with me. No one but me could tell the difference in my training. It was imperceptible. But I knew. I was working VERY, VERY hard, but I wasn’t giving EVERYTHING and then some, which are what it takes to be great. It was cheating myself. I had to clean up my act and stop gossiping between rallies – shame on me! I got off of the phone and stopped taking extended water breaks.”, Williams added.
The former world number one worked immensely hard physically and mentally to get her focus back. She had to make conscious efforts to bring back her concentration.
She set short term goals for herself to reach. Then she made strict rules regarding the behavior she wanted herself to possess on the court. She also gave herself small rewards like a day off to act as incentives to practice diligently.
“I had to retrain myself not to allow outside thoughts to come in and force myself to connect mentally by using physical cues on each point played, like a fist pump when I won a point (even the easy ones!) and a thigh pat if I lost.”, Venus shared. All this worked out in her favor, and she recovered from the effects these uncertain times had on the court for her.