Inside the mind of champion Mia Gorman

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Evan Manion

Mia Gorman is the 2021 WPIAL girls tennis champion. She defeated Kat Wang of Peters Township in the finals.

According to Joanna Zeiger, the author of the book “The Champion Mindset: An Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness,” the champion mentality is “a much-needed and long-overdue look into how to program a competitor’s mind to achieve optimal success.”

To Mia Gorman, a two-time girls tennis section champion and a two-time girls tennis WPIAL champion, the champion mentality is “going out on the court no matter what, whether you’re feeling the pressure, or if you don’t feel well, or if you feel 100% good, and just putting it all out there. It is trying your absolute best to win and leaving it all on the court when you’re finished.”

Mia Gorman has been playing tennis since she was 3 years old and is now a senior at BPHS and a D1 commit for girls tennis at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Gorman’s day starts out like any other. She wakes up, gets ready, picks up her friends, gets coffee, and goes to school. But, after school, she goes straight to the tennis club for practice. 

Gorman practices 5-6 days a week and has to start her homework at around 10 p.m.

When asked how she handles being a student-athlete, Gorman said: “I have an early release from school so that certainly helps. I just kind of have a routine for getting each thing done, I guess.”

Gorman used to play other sports, but in fifth grade, she decided to only focus on tennis.

“I honestly really like the mentally challenging part of it,” said Gorman. “It’s different from other sports because it’s not really a team sport. Yes, I’m on a team, and yes we’re working for the same goal, but when it comes down to it, it’s individual and I think that makes it tougher than a lot of other sports even if it’s not as physical.”

Gorman’s dad is the biggest inspiration in her sport. “He does so much for our family and he’s the best coach I could have ever asked for. He has made what I can do possible in more ways than one,” said Gorman.

Her goal for every new season is to achieve more than what she did the season prior.

Her favorite pre-game meal is a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a bagel. And after a long game, Gorman’s favorite thing to eat is a burger, fries, and a milkshake.

If she has a game the next day, she usually likes to eat spaghetti or some kind of pasta to prepare, and she also likes to eat about an hour and a half before her match.

To focus herself before a match, Gorman talks to her dad and warms up by herself. In order to calm her nerves, Gorman said: “Usually I have two or three things that I say to myself while I’m playing. They’re not always the same. It kind of just depends on the circumstance in the match.”

Gorman has won the girls tennis section championship twice. She captured the title in 2020 and she did it again this year in 2021. After advancing to the WPIAL Class AAA both years, she became an even bigger champion by placing first in 2020 and 2021 again.

 

To humble/ground herself after a big match, Gorman said, “I don’t know if most athletes think the same way, I’m sure some do, but even if I play really well and I win a big match I always feel like there is something or some things I can do better.”

After winning an important match, she normally goes back home, takes a shower, eats something, and then goes to sleep.

After her big win in WPIALs last year, Gorman advanced to the PIAA Individual Tennis Championship and finished as the runner-up.

“I’ve never been the type to really be heartbroken after losing a match,” said Gorman. “I know many people who get very very upset, like in tears, after they lose and I don’t know if I’ve ever cried after a match. Usually, my parents give me a little while to cool off and then my dad and I will talk it over and then it’s back to the drawing board to work out all the kinks.”

This year, Gorman has the opportunity to redeem herself and get herself as the PIAA champion in 2021.

To prepare for the big match, Gorman plans to train at Glen Creek with her dad and her hitting partner, and she is also going to partake in clinics.

The first round of the PIAA tournament will take place on Nov. 5 at the Hershey Racquet Club.

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