Last week I was out for dinner with some friends from Uni’, whilst sharing how well training has been going recently one of the guys innocently asked: “so, do you have anyone that like helps you with training now”. A pretty normal question I guess, but it got me thinking…
At first I was a little surprised that anyone would entertain the idea that I or any other sportsperson achieves what they do without help from others. But on second thought the opposite isn’t obvious either, especially in individual sports. I’ll admit, eyes glued to the screen that evening, not once did I bear thought to the enormous team effort, over many consecutive years, it must have taken for Tom Daley to have been able to execute that last 3-second dive we saw win him Olympic bronze… the years of being ferried to and from training sessions and competitions by his late father… the hours, days and months of coaching instruction… the hundreds of sports medical appointments… I could go on.
This is often referred to as the ‘Iceberg Effect’: an observation where only a very small amount of information concerning an achievement or phenomenon is visible to spectators (e.g. the execution of a dive in an Olympic final… a.k.a. the ‘tip’ of the iceberg).
What’s largely never seen, below the surface, is the decade of dedication, the sacrifice and the support along the way from an army of people, which precedes a medal winning performance. Whatever the field, surrounding yourself with a good team is almost always essential to succeeding. A reality which became abruptly apparent to me when I unexpectedly found myself on crutches just weeks before last year’s Olympic trials.
As it happens these last 10 weeks of Winter Training has been my best period of training ever. I owe much of this to the amazing team currently supporting me to train and compete. So here’s an insight into just some of the team members who make up the underside of my iceberg:
Coaches are the masterminds behind an athlete’s performance. They are the people we spend hours with nearly every single day of the year. They set your sessions, decide your competitions and guide your journey. I’m blessed to be able to work with Eli Binks and Tony Jarrett, who between them have over 50 years experience of coaching and competing at the highest level.
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
Strength, power and injury prevention are vital aspects of nearly every sport. I’m fortunate to have a fantastic Strength and Conditioning coach who personally trains me in the gym and tailors a performance programme for me all year round. I’m even more fortunate to have the support of Fit Performance, an awesome gymnasium and personal training facility in Essex, check them out: www.fitperformance.co.uk
Also known as ‘The Magician’, Greg of Health and Fitness Solutions is the man who heads up this first class pit-stop crew. Simply put, their regular maintenance is what keeps me in the race and able to knock out lap after lap. ‘King’s Speech’ factoid: Greg treats me in the same space on Harley Street that King George VI received speech therapy from Lionel Logue – treatment fit for a King! www.hfs-clinics.co.uk
These two guys are literally the backbone behind everything I do physically. I swear they must have mythical healing powers to take away aches and pains you didn’t realise you even had, or in my case help me return from a serious car accident and then a career threatening injury. Between them they treat Olympic Gold medallists, PGA Tour golfers, WTA tennis stars and numerous celebrities: BIRMINGHAM (Poora – www.psosteopath.co.uk) LONDON (Torben – www.london-osteopath.com)
MASSAGE & SPORTS THERAPY
John of Alleviate Therapeutic Massage Clinic is an absolute God-send! Sports Massage is an intrinsic part of every professional athlete’s maintenance, rehabilitation and preparation for competition. I’ve been treated by countless practitioners over the years but John remains my first choice, I can’t recommend him highly enough: www.alleviatetmc.co.uk
RECOVERY & SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY
If you haven’t floated, you haven’t lived! Floatworks is the largest centre of its kind in Europe, floatation is a key part of my recovery strategy between training sessions. If you want to get someone a Christmas present they’ll never forger I strongly suggest you consider buying them a Float voucher: www.floatworks.com