Top tips and observations from Team GB and Bec Development’s own medal winning squad of coaches and trainers…
The Rio Olympics has been inspiring, not least because of the stupendous haul of medals secured by Team GB.
We all know that, as a result, local sporting arenas, tennis courts and swimming pools will be full of would be Olympians of all ages looking to raise their personal best on the back of this Olympic success.
But what about in the office – are you going for Gold? And could the training techniques and mindsets of our athlete’s help you reach your goals, or inspire your team to go the extra mile?
Set the bar high
According to BD founder and MD, Helen Tiffany, Olympians have a few things in common, but the ones Helen backs and wants to win – like leaders in the workplace – are:
- resilient and set the bar high
- overcome problems and find another way
- inspire us to do and be more.
“Andy Murray does this for me,” she explains. “I didn’t love him to begin with but he has proved that he could do it and you come to respect that.
“Olympic athletes also show us they are people through their humour and humility. For example, Bradley Wiggins and his sense of fun.”
Ben Tipney is a professional coach and trainer, developing personal and professional performance programmes. But not all of you know he is a former international athlete, representing the Great Britain rowing team at a number of world championship events, and coaching the South African rowing team.
As Ben observes, one of the primary attributes of all successful Olympians is persistence, and within this the willingness to view times where goals were not achieved not as failure but as opportunities to learn and to provide hunger and motivation for future success.
“Katherine Grainger, one of Team GB’s most successful rowers exemplifies this. After 3 Silver medals at Sydney, Athens and Beijing, all falling agonisingly short of Gold, many said she was destined to never be an Olympic champion. But she persisted, and at the age of 36 became Olympic Champion in London with her then doubles partner Anna Watkins.
“She retired shortly after, but then decided in 2014 to come back, at the age of 38 with just 2 years to prepare for Rio. Again many said it was crazy to come back at that age, that close to the Olympics – that she would be way off medal pace. And for 23 months of those 2 years the doubters seemed to be right – Katherine and her new doubles partner, Vicky Thornley, were off the pace at the majority of World Championship and World Cup races, struggling to make the A-final (top 6 places), let alone push for medals.
“Their place in the GB team was questioned, but they were eventually selected for the 2016 Olympics. Even during the heats at Rio, it looked like a medal was beyond them. But they clearly never stopped believing, as in the final they produced an amazing race to take the Silver medal, Katherine Grainer one of the oldest competitors in the field at 40.”
Ben’s top tips are:
- to quote Robert G. Allen, there is no failure, only feedback
- remember that the opinion of doubters is just that, an opinion, not fact.
Lynne Cooper is one of our amazing tutors on The Coach House, a 6 month programme for people who want to become coaches, or who want to professionalise coaching skills in their existing work setting.
She believes one of the key lessons to be learned from the Olympics is the importance of dedication when it comes to training.
“Like an Olympic athlete I am dedicated to my own development, which means training, practising and learning. As a coach, team coach and coaching supervisor I undertake an immense amount of CPD (Continual Professional Development) including training, reading, writing and educating others
“Plus, this means I reflect on my practice and have my own supervision, to discover where those continual improvements can be found in my own performance – for the benefit of the clients I work with.”
Lynne’s top tips are:
- take time to stop and reflect
- think about what you are doing and the results you are getting
- consider what you could do differently to achieve more and with more ease
- build reflection into your constant development and improvement.
Abbie Jackson has a background in sales and management. She is one of leading trainers in sales skills and oversees our open course programme. The big take out from the games for Abbie is the way Olympians set goals.
“Usually, they are very clear goals. They know exactly what they are aiming for and accept that the achievement of these might be years away. But they stick with it and hopefully one day they are where they wanted to be.
“Working with people who are not happy in their careers, I notice that often they can articulate the goal, but it almost feels unbelievable to them that they could actually get there because of time, circumstance or financial reasons. So they don’t bother trying.
“Laura Trott was born 8 weeks early with a collapsed lung. She also suffers from asthma, fainting and acid reflux. But she knew from the age of 11 that she wanted to be an Olympic cyclist and this week became the most successful female British Olympian ever.”
Abbie’s top tip is:
- whatever it is you think is standing in your way, if you want it enough and are prepared to work hard and make some sacrifices, you can definitely do what you want to do and be who you want to be.