In the last 52 weeks, the world ranking of Saina Nehwal in the BWF (Badminton World Federation) has steadily risen from World No 7 in Aug 2014 to World No 1 in March 2015, back down to No 3 July, and in the last two weeks of August she is once again World No 1!
In the women’s singles event, since January 2009, out of a total of 347 weeks, two chinese players Wang Yihan and Li Xuerui have dominated the number one position for 240 weeks, or 70% of the entire duration from Jan 2009 to Aug 2015! In comparison, Saina Nehwal is the only Indian player to take the number one position, and so far she has held the spot for only 6 weeks, or 2% of the time. Five Chinese players have been at the helm, whereas Saina is the first Indian woman to ever be World No.1. In the men’s category, Prakash Padukone had held that position 35 years ago.
The objective is in no way to demean or dilute Saina’s achievement. In fact, I wish to highlight the tough competitive legacy and the might of the opponents she faces.
In an interview, Saina’s coach Vimal Agarwal says that “her (Saina’s) rivals are good players and very unpredictable, but Saina is mentally tougher than them." He says this factor will play an important role in helping her do well in the upcoming World Championships.
Now, the words that caught my attention are MENTAL TOUGHNESS.
Saina has been in the top 5 for the last seven years and thrice became No 2. She says she used to keep seeing Li Xuerui’s name on top for almost one and a half years continuously. She says she has taken some very hard decisions to get to no 1. She kept losing to top players all the time. She even thought about quitting badminton! She describes the last few years as a very dark time in her career. Enough people told her ‘Saina, your career is finished.'
Yet, Saina Nehwal BOUNCED BACK.
In sports we understand the role of mental toughness. Every top sportsperson and athlete, undergoes MENTAL and EMOTIONAL COACHING to help them train right, think right and tackle right. If we do a survey of interviews of top coaches and athletes, we are sure to come across these words with an statistically significant frequency -- ‘pressure’, ‘peak state’, ‘bounce back’, ‘relaxed’, ‘I am enjoying myself’, and so on.
Now, my dear friends, here is a question for all you students out there… don’t you think the world of competitive sports is not too different from the world of competitive examinations? I'm talking about CET, CAT, NATA, CPT… and what not :-)
In today’s world of hyper competitio,n hard work, long hours, hectic schedules, extra coaching classes, etc etc, are absolutely necessary. But are they ENOUGH?
I believe, one of the most crucial ingredients needed is needed is MENTAL TOUGHNESS? The same mental toughness that Saina Nehwal and all top athletes train for.
So, what are you doing to develop this quality?
We would love to hear from you...
With loads of Love & Gratitude
This is from the original article we published on http://dancingwithtigers.com/are-you-mentally-tough/