Q: What is motivating you for 2019?
A: My keyword for this year is emerge. The past year and a half I feel I’ve been on the cusp of becoming a standout player, held back by just not enough gym, track or throwing sessions. This year my somewhat intangible goal is to breakout and be the player I know I have the potential to be.
On a more personal note a massive member of the Ultimate community in the UK, and a close friend of mine from my alma mater passed away a few days before Christmas. Matt Tomlinson was a truly incredible individual and forever believed and had faith in me. If I can do my best to achieve my potential, I know he’d be happy with that.
Q: What does your training regiment look like?
A: My usual week follows the pattern of: Monday and Wednesday lifting in the gym. Tuesday is 7am practise with the uni team and cycling. Thursday evening is sprints and then uni team training again.
Q: Who inspires you on your team and in the ultimate community as a whole?
A: On my team I think Thomas Bennett is probably my biggest inspiration just now. He is probably SMOGs best thrower and cutter; an all around dream isolation player. Within the ultimate community, I am an enormous fan of Levke Walczak, a fellow BE ambassador. I got to know her over the 2017/18 U24 cycle as GB played Germany many times. I think she has the perfect attitude to training and improving herself; can we get a BEAmbassador all-star team, please?
Q: What is your mindset when you take the field?
A: When I’m training, working out, scrimmaging or on the track I’m always looking to push myself and learn something new. I want to be better than I was last time I was there, so I’m happy to make mistakes. However, when it comes to a game, this mindset needs to change. I wear eye black in a variety of styles and, aside from looking great, it is a physical shift to assist in a mental shift. When I wear eyeblack I’m playing within my limits. Everything I bring to the game when I’m wearing it is something I’ve practiced as much as possible to the point where I can’t fail. My mindset on the field is to execute everything I’ve practiced that I know I can always achieve, and my eye-black is a fun way to solidify this.
Q: What do you do outside of ultimate?
A: Outside of ultimate I’m an (apparently) eternal student. I’m currently doing a masters degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. If all goes well, I’ll be heading further south in the UK to start a PhD in tactile responses in prosthetics, later in the year. I’ll keep you posted.
Q: What is something you are very passionate about that you think people should be more educated on?
A: Confirmation bias. In every aspect of our life, we are so willing to accept events or points of view if they confirm what we already believe, and likewise, we are apprehensive to accept views which run in contradiction. It is perhaps not something people need to be educated on, but awareness of it in many different areas of our life can influence so much.
Q: What tournaments are you attending this year?
A: I’ll be attending all the UKU domestic tournaments; three mixed and three open tournaments with my SMOG teammates. We’ll also head to Windmill or Talampaya, whichever suits our training schedule more. Also I’ll be heading to Dublin’s Golden Cup ahead of UKU nationals in August. As I’m still at university, I’ll also be at UKU University Open Nationals in Nottingham in April, with Team Durham.
Q: What are your goals for 2019?
A: I would love to go to Euros with SMOG. I’ve not been able to attend a European Championships yet, so that’s something I really want to do. The roster this year is looking absolutely hot, so a strong finish at EUCF would be a great goal.
Q: What are three pieces of advice you would tell yourself when you first started play?
Tip 1: Imitation is the best way to learn. Find the top players you can and get ruined by them, get to the sideline and ask them how they did it. Then ask them how to beat them. If you play with great players, you will become a great player.
Yoga, stretching and foam rolling are not a lie, essential.
Tip 2: Taking care of the overall health and flexibility of your body is so important to avoid niggling injuries and inconsistencies. Not only does it make you feel great, but self-care, when you’re mid-seas, is different between athletic burnout and peaking at the right time.
Tip 3: Throw. More than you think you need to. You can never throw enough.
Q: What does better than ever mean to you?
A: Better than Ever means being the best version of myself that I can be. It’s easy to always show the positives of training: The enthusiasm for 7am sprints, or throwing after a long day of work. What’s less commonly shown is fighting through mentally difficult times of life, or situations, and still performing. To be Better than Ever, is to always be pushing myself and accepting that if I’m down, I know I have the capacity to get back up and keep going.