The tide has finally turned for Michelle Wie. The girl with unlimited potential had a disappointing season, and she has suddenly been transformed from wunderkind to underachiever.
For me, this characterization couldn’t be more off base. In truth, what has happened to Wie is not unique for an elite young athlete. As a sports psychologist who has advised thousands of young competitors, many of them women, I regard Wie’s performance problems as a necessary struggle. Athletes of her caliber often become debilitated by doubt and can lose ownership of their own goals. But these are merely consequences of inflated expectations and overpraise — not lost skills or lack of will.
By no means is all hope lost, but a few things have to happen first. Wie’s critics must back off, as she will likely struggle more. Her parents should wake up; their priority should be guiding their child — not raising a champion. Michelle herself has to play the next shot forward.
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