During COVID, my college team has tried not to look at what “was” or what “could have been” and instead focus on where we are NOW and what we can control, in this moment. The most successful athletes and teams in the world embrace this growth mindset, one which recognizes that the only two controllables are players’ efforts and attitudes, at this point in time.

I’ve witnessed the perils of getting caught up in the past and the future over my 22 years of coaching. Athletes that repeatedly reminisce early successes struggle to make adjustments to move past “where they were”. Similarly, athletes hyperfocused on how good they “need to be” in order to reach a certain goal, struggle with crippling anxiety. Both missteps greatly hamper an athlete’s potential for improvement. High caliber, winning athletes, on the other hand, train and compete every day focusing on the simplicities of their sport: one ball, one stroke, one throw, one movement at a time.

COVID has reminded us that so much in life and sport is out of our control. As my team returns to practice and competition, we will stay in the present, which will undoubtedly make us stronger for the future. Read more about the Emory Women’s Tennis return to sport and its strong team culture of staying in the “now” here.