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Athletics, Stress and Expectations
10 October 2015


ATHLETICS; Advanced Core workshop

10 October 2015, DSR, WA



Story by Kat Downie, Swimmer, 2012 Paralympics

I love athletics! It is very similar to swimming with its various disciplines and vast contrasts! In October, 2015 I was very lucky to meet with a young bunch of athletes to discuss some processes to deal with stress and media within professional sport.

It was a great discussion between Amanda, the WAIS Facilitator, the group of athletes and I when we began with a brief backdrop on some success stories from London 2012, contrasting with some "non-success” stories afterwards. It was exciting to see great conversation between some really level headed athletes at such a young age.

Moving on, we began discussing the importance of life balance; juggling school, work and university with any level of sporting commitment. Most of the individuals partaking were currently at school level and when we asked them to prioritise the responsibilities in their lives it was great to see many put school and education first, which makes it easier for them to move through life after sport. I always interject to remind everyone that communication skills within their own support group (Teachers/Bosses/Parents/Coaches) makes it possible to have an education/career and successful sporting career.

My favourite part of this program was the conversations that the athletes had about stress and personality types. This tied in together quite nicely and Amanda prompted everyone that each athlete is an individual and stress is a personal subjective feeling. The athletes proved to be super attentive to this particular discussion and worked well through the various exercises and processes we put them through. This included a chat about IPS (ideal performance state) and its link to stress. I loved seeing how different all the athletes were, how much nervous energy, or lack thereof, they needed to be in their "competing zone”.

From there we created a new discussion on expectations and where they can come from. It links back to the stress management as a stress catalyst and can often be a reminder of outside pressure. It was interesting to see that many of the athletes already had some sort of process for dealing with expectations, for example setting realistic daily goals and having some individual responsibility for training.

I adored my time with these athletes, even though I had to leave early, and the discussions they created between themselves and us. I want to thank Athletics WA for helping Developing champions, WAIS, Amanda and I to encourage these rising starts and give them some great management processes to help them on their way.

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