Vika Azarenka and the power of meditation

Vika Azarenka and the power of meditation

Serena Williams calls for assistance in the third set of the US Open semifinal. Victoria Azarenka slows her clean and jerk: she lost the first set (1-6), she won the second (6-3) and is 1-0 in the final. The Belarusian, who never beat Serena (0-10) in a Grand Slam, does not complain, frown, or move. She is sitting, her legs are crossed and her eyes are closed. Vika meditates. Vika returns to the court, Vika wins and qualifies for her first Grand Slam final after seven years.

“It’s a routine for her, she does it in the mornings and on the court. Listen to relaxing music, work on your breathing. It helps you relax, there is no secret ”, explains Dorian Descloix, Azarenka’s coach.

Francisco Vanoni is an instructor of Mindfulness (a type of meditation, not the only one) at Vision Clara and currently works with a tennis player on the circuit.

-Tennis is an individual sport, where there is a lot of loneliness and an almost permanent internal conversation is generated. Agassi explains it very well in his book. What role can meditation play there?
-Mindfulness can help a lot for two reasons: recognizing how the tennis player speaks and realizing that the way it is spoken was learned. If you speak in an over-demanding, negative way towards him or herself, the first thing you will realize is that it was learned. It did not come as a base. You can learn to modify this inner talk through the cultivation of love for yourself, of compassion. It allows us to realize how we speak to ourselves and start to build a much healthier, smarter way and it has repercussions on the result.

Victoria Azarenka is set up and break up in the second against Osaka. The road looks set for her third Grand Slam title. They flip the second and lose the third. If Azarenka were Argentine, Twitter would talk about the big cold and failed chest.

He receives the trophy for second place and says: “It’s a loss, it doesn’t change much for me. Of course I would have loved to win, but it is what it is. I gave everything I could on the court, but it didn’t happen. It is a blessing to be here. It was fun, I thank my team and tell them that there are more fun weeks ahead ”.

“The benefits of sustained meditative practice over time could be divided into two: first, recovering human skills such as attention and concentration, the management of emotions and pressure; the second, to be able to relate in a much wiser and healthier way with the result. Being able to resignify the relationship with the result and not be so attached to the positive results and reject the negative results ”, adds Vanoni, who worked at Independiente (Holan) and Banfield (Crespo), both times together with Alejandro Kohan. During these stages, he recognized Nicolás Tagliafico as a player committed to practice: “When situations became difficult, he connected with the body, activated the experiential circuits and thus was not thinking about what could happen or what has already happened. but focused on the moment of the game ”.

“When I was young, my ego was very big. Now it is a little smaller and the results are coming, “said Azarenka (31 years old) after beating Serena Williams in the mother’s duel. “Being a mother is the most important thing in my life but I am a tennis player: on the court I am a warrior.”

-How does an athlete take learning, perhaps one that may at first impression be counterintuitive with the brutal idea of ​​winning and thinking about more and more?
(Francisco Vanoni): -Aggressiveness without anger, remain competitive but without the mind generating the suffering that has to do with attachment to the result.

-There is an idea installed in tennis, that the new generation does not mind losing so much and that takes away their chances in competition. Is it necessarily so?
-It has to do with a conditioning of the individual that makes up society: living in terms of results, measuring success in terms of results. Perhaps what is happening with young people is that they realize that success does not necessarily come from the result. From experience of accompanying many athletes, what happens when the athlete focuses only on the result is possible that he will obtain the result but with a very high cost: call it stress, not being able to enjoy the race and that in the long term it will deteriorate the body. The result is important, but understand that the result is a consequence that often escapes from things that we cannot control. What we propose is to put everything of ourselves so that things happen, and then put everything of ourselves to accept that things happen. In that is the balance and in that, paradoxically, we are approaching this state of flow, which is the optimal state of performance. Make things happen and let things happen.

Azarenka, who will debut on Wednesday in Rome against Venus Williams, uploads a phrase to Stories every morning: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, be more, you are a leader” (Sunday), “ The smallest act of love is worth more than the greatest intention “(Monday),” When you cannot find the sun, be the sun “(Tuesday).

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