As week one draws to a close, we sadly say goodbye to the Paralympic Inspiration Programme (PiP) athletes off to the airport ahead of the second wave arriving. Before departing the hotel it was time to sit down as a group to complete the learning experience with a round-up of the 'performing under pressure' module.
After having the opportunity to immerse themselves in two days of sport specific competition, it was time to bring everything together. We talked about what it takes to perform under pressure in the Paralympic environment, as well as understanding how to prepare so that you're focused, confident and as ready as you can be going into competition.
Part of the morning was spent thinking specifically about how you prepare and the benefits of forming a plan with your coach and sports psychologist. The group concluded that it's very much about having confidence as an output of quality training, coaching support and expertise, a familiarity with the environment, as well as positive team relationships and your attitude and self-talk - what you're choosing to focus on and say to yourself.
Being confident and ready isn't about not feeling nervous; it's about being ready to do what you know you can do, and doing what you know to be as 100% ready as you can be.
The session concluded with some video blogs and the Twitter competition prize-giving. Brandon Coleman was the stand out winner, not only did he earn the most followers during the week, he did it from scratch creating a profile at the start of the programme. Billy Shilton was runner-up with his interesting tweets and photos throughout the week. Both took away a 'Tom' Paralympic mascot and pin as their prize.
It was with sadness that we waved group one off, but they learnt a lot from the experience and have many highlights from the week as to how the experience will help them perform in the future. We look forward to the second group arriving and starting the programme afresh. Athletes and coaches on the programme will span archery, para-canoe, cycling, equestrian, wheelchair rugby and swimming.
Tomorrow military athlete Phil Eaglesham starts his campaign at the shooting range for Paralympics Ireland.
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