Growing up, sports came naturally to me and I was constantly engaging in every athletic activity I could find. Being coordinated and excelling at sports was something I took for granted.
I also always assumed sports would be fun until eventually, they weren’t. The pressure to succeed and attain the highest level possible was not something I could ever reach because the bar kept being pushed higher and higher. It was like chasing the horizon; I’d never reach it.
When I was nine, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory condition whereby the body attacks it’s own joints causing pain and stiffness. I very quickly learned what it felt like to be chosen last for games. As much as I wanted to run and play, the pain in my body limited me. I would have thought that this would have eased the pressure to win. It didn’t.
My Dad, a nationally ranked tennis player, made me a bet when I was 16. If I could beat him in tennis he’d buy me a car. I practiced my heart out for many months. On the day of the match, I was really happy with how I played, but it wasn’t good enough. My Dad beat me 7-5 in a tiebreaker.
After my senior year of high school playing Varsity tennis, I quit the sport altogether. I had hit a mental and physical plateau and worst of all, I was so frustrated with my inability to improve that I lost interest and excitement for the game. Friends were shocked that I had quit. They’d tell me how good I was but in my mind, I had failed, not just because I lost the bet to my Dad, but because I couldn’t get past the plateau and as a result, I lost the passion.
I wish I had had me when I was 16. I would have been able get out of my own way so that my body could perform optimally. Hitting the plateau, losing the bet, and quitting the sport all could have been prevented had I worked with someone like myself. I would have been able to understand that what I was making up in my mind about my performance caused me to feel badly about myself, which negatively influenced my game.
My decision to work with athletes stems from my experience of being an athlete myself and of knowing the frustration with having physical conditions such as chronic and acute pain. I also know first-hand what it’s like to be challenged by the mental side of sports. I now help athletes identify and release the mental blocks getting in their way of performing at their peak.
Does this sound like you? Are you ready to reach your peak performance? Are you struggling with moving past a plateau, slump, or losing streak? Are you recovering from an injury? Are you second guessing yourself?
Sign up for a Single Breakthrough Session to find out how I can help!
For information on my education, clinical experience, and training:
View Serena’s CV