The Wisdom of a Champion – How to Take a Mastery Approach Part 1

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“I don’t play for the record books.” (Roger Federer – Tennis Legend). Let’s take a look at further strategies that provide psychological insights to help rocket your game to newer dimensions and higher levels to achieve the wisdom of a champion.

Take a Mastery Approach

So far we have been building mental muscle with the key mental skills and strategies needed to perform in your sport with a champion’s mindset. You’ve learned how to think, feel and play like a champion because the mentality of an athlete is the main variable in terms of who gets the “WIN” or who achieves the best scores. This post offers further strategies that will take your game to newer dimensions and higher levels. You will begin to see your sports performance from an exceptional and more commanding point of view.

Wisdom of a Champion

There are two types of athletes: those who seek awards, admiration and other such accolades above all else, and those who truly love their sport and are driven to find out how well they can play. The former are classifies as having an ego orientation; they are thrilled when they receive recognition and are devastated when they do not. The latter are defined as having a mastery approach; they generally appreciate everything about the process of striving for personal excellence, regardless of the end result.

In tennis ego oriented players tend to be fixated on their prize winnings, stats, number of titles won, win to loss ratio etc. and this leads to higher levels of performance anxiety as well as discouragement in the face of failures or setbacks because motivation tends to be contingent on extrinsic factors, such as others’ opinions, e.g. the Press, other players, etc. Furthermore, there can be an overwhelming sense of emptiness for ego-oriented players after accomplishing their top goal because they are looking in the wrong place to find personal happiness. They are always thinking “What next?”, without ever discovering a satisfactory answer to their question.

In contrast, players who approach their training and games with an orientation towards mastery are mainly motivated by intrinsic rewards, such as the love of the game and pursuit of growth and development. They seek to continually improve on the court and gain wisdom in training. They have fun taking part in the tournaments and games as well as maximising their focus during practice sessions.

The winning of big tournaments and trophies such as the Grand Slams are the icing on the cake. Often these are players who once they have won their first Grand Slam, have an outlook that is more about thoroughly enjoying the journey which brings about more success versus those who are constantly chasing ranking points in the other tournaments. It seems that those who take the mastery approach tend to have longer, more enjoyable playing careers and often are more successful in business and life outside the sport of tennis following their retirement. This is truly the wisdom of a champion!

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Please take the time to reflect on what type of player you are. If you have any advice to share please feel free to leave it in our Comments section below. Or alternatively contact us on WhatsApp +44 7849 502790 or email us at

Excerpts taken from “The Champion’s Mind – How Great Athletes Think Train and Thrive by Jim Afremow PhD. ISBN 978-1-62336-562-2 – An excellent read from a leading sports psychology consultant and licensed counsellor.

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