Rory & Wozniacki: How romantic break-ups affect performance…

rory playI’ve seen it dozens of times, an athlete is performing well, and then boom! The break-up happens…

Last week, Rory McIlroy called off the engagement with Caroline Wozniacki. In the immediate wake, their performances have taken dramatically different paths. Rory won the European PGA championship after trailing during the last round by seven (7) shots and he is currently in the lead at The Memorial. On the other hand, 13th seed Wozniacki lost in the first round for the first time at the French Open.

Now, there are numerous examples of athletes that performed their best when “life” outside of sport went seriously askew. Brett Favre suddenly lost his father and became locked in on a Monday night game, passing for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns. Recently, PGA Tour winner Robert Garrigus honored his caddy’s father who passed away by shooting an incredible last round 64.

It may seem callous, but what matters in relationships and performance is WHO made the decision and delivered the blow and WHO became the victim?

In relationships, one person usually loves the other more. So, frankly, one’s gender makes no difference in matters of the heart. When break-ups occur, the opposite effect could have easily happened. If Wozniacki delivered the break-up news, maybe she’d have won the French Open.

Men are microwaves—women are crockpots…

While Rory McIlroy has tightened his focus and channeled his pain into his performance. Wozniacki may take longer. It doesn’t mean that she won’t recover, but after a recent break-up and being on the receiving end of horrible news, there just isn’t a lot of emotional resiliency to perform immediately at the highest level.

The victim of any break-up must simply go through a process of bouncing back and enjoying their sport. What I’ve seen is that if sport is their escape from life, then they will bounce back sooner, if they can’t effectively cope, then they will struggle.

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness

Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness was recently released. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact 


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Dr. Rob Bell

Ahoy! I'm Dr. Rob Bell. Your Mental Toughness coach. Be The BEST at Getting BETTER. Will your Hinge connect?
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