It’s the first round of the World Grand Prix at Dublin. And World Champion Adrian Lewis is cruising. Five legs in a row against John Part. Lewis is looking the real deal. Then with the match beckoning, Lewis switches off.
He lets Part back in and suddenly instead of closing out the match, Lewis is struggling. One all becomes two-one, as Part takes the game in an unexpected about-turn.
From cruising to victory, Lewis is heading home. He’s fallen into the trap of assuming victory. It looks as if Lewis hasn’t thought through some varied match strategies in advance.
He’s practised, sure. Found his rhythm, yes. But mentally, he’s not run through this match in his mind. For if Lewis had, he would have factored in a fast flying start. And reminded himself to stay concentrated and focused, when it came time to close out the match.
Part’s revival should not have come as a surprise to Lewis either. He’s known as a fighter. Therefore the World Champion should have had a few scenarios in his head. Ways in which the match could pan out. And what to do when any of those scenarios occured.
When your a class act like Adrian is, then the game can feel easy. But it also means the mind can wander, because you dont have to work as hard to win as less talented players. It all sometimes, feels too easy.
It’s a big valuable lesson for Lewis. Part of the learning necessary to build on his first world title. Talent alone is not enough. It has to be supported by good mental preparation, and a fierce, unbreakable will to win. Qualities that can negate a wandering mind!