New Identity, Please!
Last week the worlds number 1 female tennis player Caroline Wozniacki proclaimed that she is stopping the coaching relationship with her father Piotr Wozniacki. Most tennis experts around the world believe this is a clever decision. For nearly a year Caroline Wozniacki has been leading the world rank, though she still hasn’t manage to win a grand slam yet. Her defensive and at times stereotype style has been claimed as the main reason for her grand slam failures.
To win a grand slam you can’t solely rely on your opponent to make mistakes at some point. You’ll have to take chances and aggressively win points yourself. The new coach (who hasn’t been presented yet) is singled to solve this problem. But the transition from being a very defensive player to becoming an aggressive and attacking player might cause Miss Sunshine (the nickname of the young Wozniacki) several problems. First of all this is not only a question of training new skills physically as well as technically. It’s also a psychological identify shift. Caroline Wozniacki is going to reinvent herself. She is going to change the habits that have shaped her to the player she is today. Tiger Woods did that a few years back with limited success. Leading the world rank superiorly and just after winning Masters with twelve strokes he decided to break his swing down and rebuild it with the ambition of reaching an even higher level. Most experts would claim that he never came back at the same level. Some opera singers try to do the same with their voice. The lesson is: Adding a new level to your game often demands the courage to break yourself down to atoms and rebuild it all. In other words: Before going two steps forward you’ll need to start with one step backwards. As Tiger Woods expressed it:
“Winning is not always the barometer of getting better”
This is a bit of a patience test, especially if you are the worlds leading tennis players and under pressure from sponsors, the press, fans etc. to deliver short term results. There are no quick fixes here: To re-engineer your game you’ll have to perform worse for a while to be able to perform better. Therefore the big question with Caroline Wozniacki is not if it is possible or not. With the right kind of practice I certainly believe it is. The real question we should ask her is: How long are you willing to wait for the results to come back? How many defeats are you willing to take and maybe remain the chance of winning a grand slam? How much patience do you really have?