During the Las Rozas Open 2021 for the World Padel Tour, in an unusually candid situation, Belasteguin showed a vulnerable side. “… so bad, so bad… I have not played this bad in a very long time”, he said.
This is what happened. While sitting on the bench, they had a conversation that would sound familiar to any amateur padel player –see below my translation-. However, the way both players handled the situation show how much of mature and developed professional athletes they are. They both have high emotional IQs.
This was the final match of the tournament. Belasteguin was playing awful. Their opponents were all mighty Agustin Tapia and Pablo Lima. Belasteguin and Sanyo got to the final by winning all matches in three sets, playing bad.
Lima-Tapia’s Coach: …
Belasteguin-Sanyo’s Coach: “…you on the first ball…” –inaudible tactical directions-.
Sanyo: “Do whatever you want”
Belasteguin: “yes yes… disastrous…”
Sanyo: “it’s ok. Do whatever you want”
Belasteguin: “yes… yes… I am playing every ball out!”
Belasteguin: “I don’t know… Perhaps I am very very… like, like I want to accelerate but my legs are heavy. My ideas are…”
Belasteguin: “I missed that backhand volley. Also, that ball on the fence was a big miss. Let’s see if I can play the next four rallies well for you”
Sanyo: “fine fine fine. Do whatever you want”
Belasteguin: “Come on now”
Belasteguin-Sanyo’s Coach: “calm down”
Belasteguin: “… arg arg… so bad dude so bad. I have not played so so bad in a long time dude”
Sanyo: “ha ha, we got away with it all tournament”
Belasteguin: “ha ha ha, yeah, we got away with it all tournament, listen… come on… come on…”
Sanyo: “ha ha, come on now, I will help you out… I will help you out”.
What happened and what can we learn
1. Sanyo knew that no tactical change would make any difference while Belasteguin was missing so many shots. He interrupted his coach to encourage his teammate. The ball needs to be in for tactics to work.
2. Belasteguin admitted to himself and to his teammate that he was playing awful. Rather than fighting the situation he welcomed it. He implicitly asked for help and accepted it. Then you had two players working on solving the troubles rather than one.
3. Sanyo recognized and welcomed Belasteguins troubles. He responded by giving “freedom” to his partner rather than adding further pressure. This is a great confidence booster.
4. Sanyo lowered the stress level by adding humor. A small joke always works.
5. Sanyo reassured Belasteguin that he would help him out. By doing this he implies that Belasteguin is not alone. They are “together on it”.