Ashleigh Barty and Dylan Alcott’s Secret Weapon Is An Old Nike

Some of the highlights of this year’s Australian Open took place far from a tennis court and had nothing to do with a Serbian champion against the vaccine.

Ben Crowe, a mindset and life coach with a mindset and life coach whose clients include women’s world No. 1, her nation’s champion hopeful Ashleigh Barty, and Dylan Alcott, another Australian who is among the greatest wheelchair players, does little work. in the court itself.

Crowe and Alcott often meet at a cafe during the tournament for their regular check-in because Alcott likes to be with people. Last week, as Barty prepared for his third-round match against Camila Giorgi, he and Crowe did their pre-match check-ins while walking. mollyCrowe’s spanador, a mix of a Labrador retriever and a rooster spaniel in Melbourne Park.

“Ash loves dogs, which makes it a good environment,” Crowe said in a recent interview. “It creates a happy place to talk. And we will talk about everything. Dogs or home renovations.”

Tennis players and athletes in almost every sport have been using sports psychologists and mentality coaches for years. Mental health has never been more of a primary focus, especially in tennis, which lost one of its biggest stars, Naomi Osaka, almost halfway through 2021, while dealing with psychological issues related to the sport and its performance.

Crowe took a detour into his role as the guru of some of the biggest names in sports. He worked as a marketing executive at Nike in the 1990s, trying to connect the athletes’ stories with the industry giant and earn some cash for both parties.

He worked closely with Australian athletes, including Olympic runner Cathy Freeman, in his campaigns prior to the Games in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. She became close with Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, who loves both tennis and Australia.

Eventually, Crowe realized that it was far more important for athletes to truly understand who they were, their backgrounds, and what they were doing, rather than attaching a fabricated version of their narrative to a global company in hopes of more sales. sneakers and t-shirts.

“You have to separate the person from the personality, the self-worth from the business card,” he said. “I try to get them to answer these questions: Basically, who am I? And what do I want from this crazy thing called life?”

Crowe has also worked with professional surfers. Stephanie Gilmore and Richmond club in Australian football.

Away from tournaments and matches, he talks to clients for about an hour a week during occasional humorous sessions, focusing on finding a balance between success and fulfillment. There is a simplicity in Crowe’s basic principles:

  • Focusing on the future or the past is wasted energy because we cannot control both.

  • No point in a tennis match is more valuable than another, so why bother treating them differently?

  • If you have to do or achieve something to become someone, you will never be happy.

  • We don’t know ourselves enough, and the parts we know we don’t love enough.

In a big competition like the Australian Open, Crowe often watches his clients’ matches from the stands, paying close attention to their decision-making and body language, and trying to spot things they can’t control (crowd, weather, opponent). It could be distracting. He attends press conferences and chats with them before and after each game.

However, deep work comes when he explores questions of identity and purpose with them, during downtime between tournaments.

He said Alcott’s career was on the rise and came to a comfortable end as he realized that he was now playing tennis to help people like him live better and healthier lives. This week, Alcott received the prestigious Australian of the year award, which is given annually to prominent citizens. He will play his last professional tennis match in the Australian Open wheelchair singles singles final on Thursday, but his aim remains unchanged as he retires.

Having left the sport for 18 months to play cricket, Barty draws his inspiration from playing for his country, the locals and the team of coaches and coaches whose success he has always admired. She will face the Madison Keys in the semifinals on Thursday and she is trying to become the first Australian woman to win the tournament’s singles title since 1978.

He said tennis clients have learned to accept their weaknesses and vulnerabilities and the endless uncertainty that professional sport and life ultimately bring.

“If there’s one thing that the pandemic shows, it’s that we don’t do uncertainty very well and uncertainty is vulnerability and we don’t do vulnerability very well,” Crowe said. Said. “So you either adapt to uncertainty or suffer.”

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