Ashley Barty switching sports?
Photo credit: Peter Menzel

It has been reported that legendary tennis player Ash Barty is looking for a new sporting activity and is considering golf.

This idea might shock some people. It’s quite the transition from one sport to another. This could spell disaster for others, as there is a long history of sports stars who ventured outside of their chosen career and failed spectacularly.

Will Ash Barty be an exception?

Well, what should she do to be the exception? We break down what it takes to successfully transfer from one sport to another.

Poker and chess – two unlikely bedfellows

The GGPoker poker coverage website is full of success stories of high-stakes professional players who have made it from failure to the poker table. At first glance, it might seem like there isn’t much in common between the two, but when you separate the two sports, there’s a lot in common.

Both take a lot of strategy and trying to decipher your opponents next move for example. It makes it easier to transition between sports than, say, Freddie Flintoff’s brief stint as a boxer after a long career in cricket.

His boxing career only lasted four rounds and one fighter points out that he might have needed more force than necessary to throw a small ball 22 yards towards a beater.

But then there are many other successes that can indicate that a decent dedication will get you far in many sport changing cases.

Like Usain Bolt, who only gave up his Aussie Rules football career because of media attention, but with a life spent playing football with his friends and the notorious speed of an Olympic gold medalist , Bolt had plenty of talent to prove he could do it.

The formula is based on transferable skills

The key to a successful transfer from one sport to another is the transfer of skills. As with any other career change, you should take a look at what you have and what you need to learn and see what sport might fit your skill set.

Petr Cech, for example, simply switched from defending the goalposts on the field to defending the goalposts on the ice when he announced he would be leaving professional football for semi-pro hockey.

And there are plenty of examples of attempts that don’t involve transferable skills, like Michael Jordan’s 1994 stint playing baseball for the Chicago White Sox. There’s not much that connects a basketball player to a baseball player, other than the need to run fast.

If that was all it took to be one of those sportsmen in a professional capacity, every Olympic runner would flood the NBA. Michael Jordan, or any other player making the equivalent transfer, should know he has the skills in addition to his professional career, or the dedication to learn them.

Will Ash Barty succeed?

Several Grand Slam winners – including Wimbledon – Ash Barty is an interesting example as she has already made the switch once. We might have described her above as a tennis player, but she has also been seen playing cricket professionally. Not on par with his tennis career, but that’s just too high to achieve without a lifetime of dedication.

With that in mind, it’s not hard to see how she can then transition into golf. There isn’t much in common between golf and tennis, but there isn’t much in common between cricket and tennis either. Barty has proven she is determined to learn new skills to adapt to her latest sporting activity.