Manager and Performance Coach
What is your job title?
I am a Manager and Performance Coach.
Could you give us a summary of your job role?
I currently manage a corporate gym at an F1 Factory. We have two other full-time coaches that help with the running of the facility, coaching small group training, running one to one Strength and Conditioning sessions as well as delivering Health and Wellbeing to all employees. We also run specific assessments on individuals to understand their training needs as well as support any rehab and recovery from injury or ailments.
The other side of my job involves some travelling with the race team. I support the physiotherapist and team doctor by providing specific physical therapy, training and sustenance to enhance their physical wellbeing during their tremendously busy schedules.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a trainer/coach for a Formula 1 driver.
When did you know you wanted to work in this industry?
When I first noticed Michael Schumacher & then Jenson Button having physical therapists and trainers alongside them during race weekends. I think it was initially around 2005.
Physical performance is very interesting to me and how individuals can manage their physical and mental capabilities to enhance performance is incredibly complex.
Athletes must be ready to perform at the perfect moment for the event they are competing in. When all variables such as nutrition, sleep, physical training, recovery, general and mental health sync, their performance is enhanced. Therefore, this isn’t done by chance, its methodical and based on a scientific approach to get them to perform at their best when needed, particularly important when they are driving over 300Kph in various climates.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing is the people and the travelling ?
I am in a fortunate position where I get the best of both worlds in being at the factory as well as travelling with the team. The ability to coach is the one thing I love to do and helping people is ultimately my personal goal and ambition in life. In my job I see people that are driven, passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic when they work. I adore where I am because we all want to maximise the potential of the car out on the track during the race weekends. Whether it be directly (working on the car) or indirectly (working with individuals). My purpose is to keep them focused, healthy and physically capable, because at the end of the day all these things are important to ensure that we can deliver and perform at our very best.
What subjects and courses did you take?
I went to a private school and public college. I got into the industry of sport and exercise later in life and I did my undergraduate in Social Sciences BSc. Then went back to University to gain a Master of Science in Strength and Conditioning. Since then I have completed various courses in exercise science, rehab as well as achieving the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association certificate as an accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Did you do any work experience?
I did plenty of work experience and I worked for free, a lot! Fortunately, I gained paid employment because of this voluntary work. Some experience included working in a leisure centre gym, at a high school, within a strength and conditioning academy and working for myself. I also have worked in multiple sporting environments such as junior skiing, gymnastics, Rugby Union (men, women and juniors) to name a few.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Probably working with Cerebral Palsy children. This challenged me tremendously, it tested me as a coach, coordinator of the project and as a person.
It made me aware how complex disabilities can be as well as associated conditions that can affect the individual. Each child was unique, and I had to adapt my style of coaching considerably. It also made me aware of what’s important in life and what really matters. For some children and families to have their child be that much more capable meant the difference between the parent’s health and wellbeing (for example, less stress on their back from assisting their child in and out of a wheelchair) and increasing a child’s capabilities which allows them to be more independent (for example, going to the bathroom by themselves), little things taken for granted by most people.
This to me was the most challenging yet rewarding role because I was able to make a difference in supporting someone who couldn’t walk 20 meters without support of a wheelchair to walking with only tripods for over 200 meters!
What was the best thing you ever did to help you get to where you are today?
Work hard and find great mentors. Working hard has been instilled in me when growing up, I was taught it by my parents through their behaviours and actions. They are my inspiration and they taught me the essence of hard work and I carried that through ever since.
I sought out and spoke to other successful coaches and asked for their help. I know some incredible coaches in Strength and Conditioning (S&C) who have been amazing in giving me their time, advice and support on how to advance in S&C.
What would you say to inspire someone to follow their dreams?
Work: Always keep your head up and keep pushing towards your goals.
Set Goals: I love the saying, ‘if your goals don’t scare you they aren’t big enough’, so keep working towards that and find a way that works for you!
Believe: Always believe in yourself because there are plenty of people who will (given the opportunity to) laugh and belittle your goals. Life is tough, but you can be tougher.
Be kind: Be respectful and learn to ask for help when you need it.
Plan: A goal without a plan is just a wish or a dream. Set out a clear pathway (including contingencies) which includes a direction you would like to go in. You have a goal, how are you going to get there? Is there another way, because you will find out sometimes you may get a few doors close in your face but that’s okay too, it happens. Keep pushing forwards.
Any other information you think might be helpful to someone looking to do what you do?
Look at people who are already in the position, find an amazing mentor / mentors who can help and support you and your ambitions.
Ask thoughtful questions to the right people.
Research your field, get to know your industry.
Educate yourself and find out what level of education you need to get to where you want to be.
Find out what sets you apart from others and just be you. There’s no-one else in the world like you, so find out who you are and be that 🙂
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