Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Five ways to win on an off-day - or the Andy Murray school of effectiveness

You may have seen tonight's Wimbledon match where Andy Murray beat Fernando Verdasco in five sets. At one point Murray was two sets down and by his own admission had made some 'poor choices', but he went on to win against his tough opponent. The mark of a champion is when players can win even when they have moments when they're not at their best. Even on their off-days, they can still pull it out of the bag and do what needs to be done to win. How can you ensure you win on an off-day?

1. Work really hard. This is the secret to everything. It doesn't mean working long hours necessarily, although it's guaranteed that champions don't clock off early, but they apply intelligent effort and put in the slog.
2. Consistency and persistence. Keeping at something, and doing it again and again is how you crack any challenge. In poker, it's known as having a leather bum - you keep playing and stick at it until you're the last person standing.
3. Learn from the best (and change things up). Champions surround themselves with the best people they can to learn from and when they feel they've gone as far as they can with someone they are brave enough to change team or coach in pursuit of their goal.
4. Champions compare themselves to the best. If you want to be the best at something, it's no good competing against a mediocre opponent. You need to keep stretching yourself and comparing yourself so you have something to aim for.
5. Have the right people in your crew. We've all seen Murray's girlfriend, mum and coach cheering him on courtside over the years and we can be sure that he draws strength from their support - not just when he's competing but every day when he's training, when he's feeling low or has a bad day. Having a great support network means you can cope with life's knocks and your successes are all the sweeter because they're shared.

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