Sport has been a big part of my life. I dreamed of being an Olympian and I am still on that quest. I started out as a competitive swimmer at the age of five and then sprinter in high school. During university I moved onto martial arts, eventually teaching martial arts for two decades.
I was introduced to sports and health psychology during my postgraduate studies in psychology, but it was much later, when I was asked to talk to young up-and-coming cyclists about mental performance, that I realised how much I enjoyed talking to and coaching athletes.
As a martial arts instructor the psychology of sports and performance was integrated into teaching - but not specifically called 'the mental game'. As I spent more time gaining a deeper understanding of sports psychology, I realised that the psychological concepts and principles taught as part of martial arts can be applied to other sports.
I invested more time researching the cognitive neuroscience of human performance and explored how understanding the mind would help people to not only change the way they think, but also what they believe they can achieve.
As part of my journey of discovery, I fully embraced endurance sports, not having done anything like it before! I entered off-road triathlons, extreme technical mountain biking events (with every downhill challenge providing the biggest rush), and multi-day stage trail running events.
I loved it all (and continue to do so). More importantly though, it has given me a more personal and deeper understanding of the mindset required to train for and compete in mentally tough events.