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27 May 2017
Cycling WA: Foundations for My Success Workshop
27th May 2017, DSR

Story by Kat Downie, WAIS Swimmer, 2012 Paralympics


I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Developing Champions workshop "Foundations for Success” that Heather and I ran for Cycling WA. It was a learning experience for both the athletes and myself as I learned about the interesting performance pathway for BMX riders which is quite different compared to swimming. The young cyclists were excellent listeners and paid great attention to the workshop. The workshop itself was split into easy concepts; sleep hygiene, time management, expectations and integrity in sport.


Sleep hygiene for athletes is always a funny concept; most athletes don’t recognise sleep deprivation because most of us are in a constant state of tiredness. It’s a no brainer as to why sleep is increasingly becoming more and more important in terms of recovery and performance. Athletes should be having an extra 2 hours sleep more than normal individuals. For the young athletes who found it hard to find the time for this, Heather and I suggested having frequent short naps to limit sleep debt.


The young cyclists completed a time management exercise. The exercise involved figuring out their total number of free time per week. This exercise always hails surprising results, most athletes not realising how much spare time they actually have. As they get older, free time becomes less and less so they have to learn how to deal with that.


Looking into expectations is also really important, from this the cyclists learned to manage priorities and balance lifestyles. Heather and I stressed it is really important for athletes to have something outside of sport, whether it be education, apprenticeships or a part time job, just so that there is another dimension to their lives. I find it important for a dual dynamic so that if your sporting career reaches a breaking point there is something waiting to catch you.



As an exercise, the athletes did a quick poster on integrity in sport. Without integrity, fair play is a myth. Whilst the athletes weren’t entirely sure of the definition of integrity, they understood the concept. It was great to see them working together and using different examples of fair play, athlete role models and of course, examples of non-role models.

All in all it was a fantastic Saturday workshop with a great bunch of kids! Thanks to DSR and WAIS for giving them this opportunity to learn and grow as athletes and as people!


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