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Mental Wellness

2021 – My athlete’s year for adaptation & ways to overcome the competition

By October 5, 2021January 6th, 2022No Comments

Author: Head Coach Martin Smith


I am a Strength & Conditioning coach. I’m sure others like me say the same. But if you know me, you’ll know it’s a fair comment to say:

 ‘I am different’

And if you don’t, I’ll try to paint a picture as to what I mean by that. If I was to summarise what I do in a sentence it would be that I:

‘Assess the needs of my clients & provide them with a rock-solid blueprint of how to achieve their targets…And I JUSTIFY EVERY SINGLE STEP of that journey.’

My life, my job, my day-to-day. It’s not only a role I am proud to be in, but its one that I have put in a great deal of time and effort to understand how to do it to the best of my ability. I think that should be an absolute given for everyone. But over the years I have come to realise that it’s not.

People want short cuts; people are lazy & people don’t care enough about what they do and the impact that the work they do could have on those around them. But I acknowledge that’s not everyone – in fact its NO-ONE that I really associate as a friend or colleague, if I’m totally honest. And it’s not me.

But enough of that…for now…this post isn’t about me, it’s about the clients I am trying to have a positive influence over and it’s about them and the big goals they have for this year.

2021 saw some incredible achievements by some of the athletes who I work with.


The notable achievements of said clients are as follows:

  • Leah Pearson – 2021 British Champion in BMX (female 30+ cruiser category)

This remarkable woman has won a category at age 49 where the opposition could be as young as 30, with her 20 years their senior. Incredible.

The work rate and consistent dedication to training NEVER needed re-enforcing. The complete trust in my ability to do the job the best way I know how made it so easy for me to ensure that Leah was on the right pathway to victory.

Over the lockdowns – our remote sessions ensured that she was focussing on building the base that would give her the edge in the competition season. ‘Summer bodies are built in the winter’ to quote an old school gym saying – but just in athletic terms! This is also coming off the back of a nasty Achillies injury in November 2020 which meant 2 months of almost no training

She was also a testament to the effectiveness of our online program. One that we built with a huge amount of planning, deliberation, and trial & error. With 3 specific phases, all engineered towards logical progression to a working athletic plan. She stuck at it week after week, month after month while the lockdown of winter 2021 dragged out to Easter. Off the back of the injury – the first phase served as a perfect rehab program, she was already strong and powerful – but she needed to get back to basics and did so with the same attitude to which she approached competition – focussed, dedicated and MOST IMPORTANTLY – CONSISTENT.

  • Leah’s 2022 – She is training for the 2022 world championships in July. Read the next blog to catch up on what the new year brings.

Find out ore info on the 2022 BMX world champs in France here:


  • Junior athlete competing on national tennis circuit

Junior tennis player has gone from national ranking outside the top 100, to inside the top 75. Having battles with health & physical development from a young age to keep up with peers who are growing at a quicker rate – and of course becoming stronger, faster & more powerful – she’s now making up for lost time in the gym!

The fact they have climbed the rankings in this way is truly remarkable – as my objective was to keep them within touching distance until their individual stage of development allowed for physical attributes to catch up. It’s frightening how good this dedicated, focussed and hardworking teenager can become.

  • 2022 – Will bring a continuation in multiple training aims – she has moved up to an under 14 age class at the age of just 12 – competing at regional and national competitions.
  • Continued assessment of the stage of development to ensure that when the time is right – the training will change to reflect the window of opportunity to work on optimising strength and power. Following relentless and tireless work to improve the foundations of stability & body control in 2021.



  • Atlanta Hickman – 2021 British Champion kick-boxer

Another client who personifies unwavering commitment towards their training, there is no coincidence that these traits are the baseline of necessity to perform and win on the level these guys have. Suffering an abdominal herniation (common injury site for martial artists) didn’t stop Atlanta going on to claim the title in 2021.

Like with Leah – and with most sports – unexpected injuries do not affect the goal to succeed – simply adjust the route on the road map. What is difficult is trying to promote the necessity to back off at certain times and focus on areas of weakness. As I say to all the guys I work with – improve your weaknesses and you utilise your strengths – and let’s face it, we all hate to work on what we suck at, right!?

Atlanta doesn’t drive – but doesn’t bat an eyelid at getting up in the sub-zero winter mornings, running to the gym for her 530 am session start times.  But in order to get to her day job as a pre-school co-coordinator (and the second job as a kickboxing coach), if it isn’t then – it’s never! Sometimes we can all be guilty of succumbing to a lie in when we could be doing something to progress as individuals, try asking yourself what you want to achieve and how bad do you want it!

  • Atlanta’s 2022 – She is training for the 2022 Irish open – this is cited as the worlds largest & most prestigious kickboxing tournament – meaning a win here puts her as the best of the best! Read the next blog to catch up on what the new year brings!

 Check out info on the irish open here:



My clients have succeeded this year because they do all they can to get the extra edge over their competition. I like to think I help facilitate that by putting in the mental work, research & effort to become the best coach I can be, to help them realise the athletic goals they have.

Time, effort, making mistakes, learning, growing as an individual. These are all things I ensure I give the best of to those who entrust my coaching input. Hours of planning, hours of reviewing, hours of compiling videos, support material & putting it into a format that breeds success. That is my worth, that is my value and THAT is my craft.

The thought process of winners is one that has them not give second thought to taking the hard route, the path of least resistance yields the least change and benefit. Challenge, hardship and adversity. The recipe for desire to succeed – or the excuses to fail, which will you choose?


2022 – We take it worldwide! – COMING SOON…blog on how these guys (and more) are in training for international competitions

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