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How Ash Barty’s ‘mindset coach’ redefined success

The man known as Ash Barty’s “mindset coach” teaches his clients to redefine their idea of success to come from within – rather than money, fame or sporting glory.

Ben Crowe has worked with a range of high profile sports stars, business leaders and others and was credited by Barty with helping her become world number one.

Barty retired from professional tennis earlier this year at the age of 25 having first claimed an elusive home soil grand slam at the Australian Open.

Mr Crowe said Barty was able to separate herself from her on-court successes and failures.

“To Ash’s credit she had the courage to go internal and make sense of her story and along the way she was able to separate her self worth from whether she wins or loses a game of tennis,” he told 7.30 host Leigh Sales on Wednesday.

“She realises that tennis is what she does but it’s not who she is.”

WomenÃs Final
Camera IconAsh Barty’s ‘mindset coach’ said was able to separate herself from on court successes and failures. Photo by Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Crowe said he aims to change people’s perspective to see their own value and understand there are things outside their control that may prevent them achieving their goals.

“You still want to have these goals and dreams and that could be extrinsic goals and dreams like winning a grand final or winning Wimbledon and so forth,” he said.

“And you want to go after those goals and dreams as hard as you can with whatever given gifts you have been given on the planet.

“But you don’t attach yourself worth to whether you achieve those goals and dreams because there is so many things outside of your control.”

In explaining her decision to retire at the top of her game, Barty said having won Wimbledon and the Australian Open she felt she had achieved everything she set out to do.

“Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything that I can,” Barty said.

Australian Open tennis
Camera IconBarty’s career finished on a peak but was filled with ups and downs. Pic: Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

“I don’t have the physical drive and the emotional want and kind of everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level anymore.

“I think I just know I’m absolutely … I am spent. I know physically I have nothing more to give, and that for me, that is success.”

In contrast, the most accomplished on court women’s tennis player of all time Serena Williams crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round on Wednesday at the age of 40.

Williams is chasing a record breaking 24th Grand Slam title.

“I really play for Grand Slams right now,” Williams told U.S. talk show host Stephen Colbert prior to this year’s Australian Open.

“I love still having the opportunity to be out here and be able to compete at this level. It’s an opportunity … anytime I win a Grand Slam it means the world to me.”

2022 Australian Open Tennis Womens Final
Camera IconAsh Barty was always seen to place personal relationships at the centre of her journey. David Caird Credit: News Corp Australia

To Mr Crowe, money, materialism, corporate and social status and craving recognition are the five extrinsic motivations sabotaging many people today.

He said craving recognition manifested as a constant caring and obsessing about what other people think of you, rather than what you think of yourself.

“As humans we’re really good at saying what we’re not – ‘not good enough, smart enough, loved enough – and we kind of suck at saying what we are,” Mr Crowe said.

“We’ve got this reptilian brain with a negative bias. It’s like velcro for negative and teflon for positive.”

He said success could look like getting out of your comfort zone, realising personal potential, helping others, being part of a team or finding purpose and meaning in your efforts.

“From that perspective you can still go after your goals and dreams and separate them from expectations,” he said.

“Because I think at the moment we are confusing the two and that’s causing so many distractions today.”

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