Interview – Strength Coach
Armed with vast experience as an educational psychologist and mental training consultant, combined with lessons learned on “center court,” Dr. Smith has released: “GRAND SLAM Coach Your Mind to Win in Sports, Business, and Life.”
Who/what contributed to your inner strength?
My parents gave me a strong faith in the Lord and all that can be accomplished through Him. I always had a Bible verse on my racquets to help me stay strong in my tennis matches. What I understand now is that I become stronger by knowing that the only things I can control are my thoughts, words and actions. If I truly believe in God, then I must do my part by exhibiting my faith through positive, empowering interactions with others and myself.
When in your life was your inner strength particularly tested and how did you deal with the incident?
My brother’s death in 1985 was the most devastating event in my life. I was playing on the women’s professional tennis tour when he took his life. Besides the inconsolable grief, it was the anger I needed to understand and begin to release to be able to go on with my life in a productive manner. The pain of his death will always be with me. How would it not if you truly love someone? It has helped me to know that he is with me in spirit and helps guide me to make better decisions in my life. I cannot see him, but I know he is there.
What suggestions do you have to help people realize their capabilities?
I believe the most debilitating emotion that keeps people from going after their dreams is fear. When I returned to professional tennis at age 46 and left my full time director’s job at a college in Massachusetts, people asked why? Everyone always has an opinion on what others should or should not do. I did not want to look back 10 years from now and ask myself, “Why did I not try?” By taking a chance and putting fear aside, I reached my goal of winning one more doubles title, and I have enjoyed the many opportunities that have developed from that one decision to “Go for it.”
Why is it important to focus on inner strength?
First of all, inner strength is much more reliable in handling every day stresses than external expectations. When I counsel children in schools or coach athletes, my goal is not only to teach them how to develop their skills, but also to be a better human being from the inside out. Relying on the external more often than not produces disappointment. This is why I developed MACH 4. We cannot be strong inside, if we do not demonstrate respect, kindness and empathy toward ourselves and others. The choices we make every moment of the day will either make us stronger or not. Through my words and actions, I choose to keep my heart and soul strong.
What are your next goals and what positive thoughts or activities keep you striving toward your goals?
I want to teach others about MACH 4 and how easy it is to implement in athletic performance and in everyday life. I not only talk about MACH 4; I live it everyday. Of all I have achieved in my life, my own personal transformation through MACH 4 has given me my greatest rewards. Life is not meant to be a struggle. I choose to empower myself and others.