In the debut episode of her podcast “Think About It”, two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka revealed the project cuts a lot deeper than interviewing informative guests.
“My goal as a parent is to be able to help my son, to create that foundation of things that I've learned,” she told Trevor Moawad. “And part of why I'm doing the show is that I can acquire even more skill for that.”
By understanding that framework, and Azarenka’s journey to becoming No. 1 in the world on the WTA Tour, it's clear why she was intrigued by Moawad’s breadth of knowledge. A renowned mental coach, most notably with high-achieving American football players that include Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, Moawad walked the Belarusian through the concept of employing neutral language in situations—whether it’s in a Grand Slam final or in a classroom.
“The problem is most people's reality is negativity. And what negativity does is the exact opposite of positivity where it says this is bad, and it's going to stay bad,” he said. “What neutral does is basically say, this is good or this is bad, but either way, it's real.”
Like any pro athlete, Moawad and his team have logged countless of hours reviewing footage. Their intention is slightly different, with audio playing a pivotal role in paring down the definition of neutral. For Moawad, by “going to the truth”, it emboldens the mind to turn on a solution-focused outlook. In one example, he turned to his gridiron background. A quarterback throws four interceptions. It's a hard fact, but why is it true?
“First time I'm leaning back, so my techniques form, I throw the ball too high. Second time, the player I'm throwing to runs the wrong route,” he explained. “Third time, my feet weren't planted. Fourth time, I got nervous and rushed it. All right, so if I keep my feet here, follow through better, communicate better with him, then I'll be fine because I'm evaluating it objectively.”
During a quickfire segment, Azarenka put Moawad on the spot by asking for his least favorite word. Based on his experiences, "can't" was an understandable reply. If we ask 2020 to serve as a reminder, there's nothing Azarenka can't do, for it's not a word in her life either.
Think About It is produced in partnership with WTA. A new episode will be featured weekly on TENNIS.com.