Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to Queens as a VIP guest. Front row seats no less. As an avid tennis fan, I was delighted.
One of the many reasons I love tennis is the psychology of it, especially in singles. It’s one person’s battle against their opponent. But even more importantly it’s a battle with their own mind. It’s the ultimate mind game.
So many times you see what I call the ebb and flow of tennis. One person in the ascendancy for a while and then the other person coming right back at them. It often seems as much about mental resilience as it does about physical skill.
However, today I noticed a different phenomenon. Cameron Norrie, the 23-year-old UK no. 2, was playing Kevin Anderson from South Africa. Six foot 8, he is a huge server and a huge hitter. Highly experienced and seeded 2nd in the tournament. Norrie was undoubtedly the underdog.
Norrie played brilliantly backed by his home crowd. He won the first set against the odds and took Anderson to a tie break in the second only narrowly missing out. However, from time to time when his head was down, I heard his Coach quietly egging him on from the box.
“Come on Cam, you’ve got this.”
“Come on Cam, you can do this.”
Every time he did it, Norrie would win the point and in many instances several points in a row to win the game. It was fascinating to watch.
Proof in action of the power of having a sponsor. Someone in your corner backing you. Someone you trust believing in you. Someone you respect, willing you to win.
It’s one of the many reasons Coaching is so powerful. But more importantly, it’s a great lesson for all leaders.
If your people know you’ve got their back, they might not always win, but they will certainly give it everything they’ve got. And you can’t ask for more than that.