The Paralympic Inspiration Programme (PiP) got the chance to see athletes contending for medals and needing to deliver best performances to win them. Their focus and task for the day was to analyse how athletes perform under pressure, why they do and sometimes don't perform at their best, and who consistently delivers good or great performance when it mattered most – and most importantly understand how they do this.
With that in mind, the group was asked to think about what they needed to do to get these answers. This included thinking about what to watch, who to talk to, and when to take time to think and reflect. Another long day also meant a reminder and reference back to the managing energy module, a very important element to ensuring a positive performance. The athletes were encouraged to make good choices, like a Paralympic athlete or staff member would.
At the wheelchair basketball athletes got to experience a packed home crowd when Brazil took on Australia – it was a tight game right the way through culminating in two penalties in the last 20 seconds taking Brazil a point ahead of Australia and securing the win – a true example of performing under pressure with the entire nation watching your every move.
PiP athlete (para-canoe) Nikki Paterson said: “It was awesome to have watched such a competitive game and even better that GB won the bronze. Turkey seemed to perform more consistently throughout the match but GB kept it together and their focus during the overtime period was what won them the match. It was a great example of performing under pressure.”
At the archery it was Jess Stretton that held her nerve to show a fantastic performance under pressure to claim Gold in the Individual Compound W1 competition: “I had to try to tell myself to keep calm because I did feel under pressure. I had to trick myself into thinking it was just another shooting session which was quite difficult – but I managed it.”
PiP athlete (archer) Hazel Chaisty said: “Performing under pressure was explained perfectly by Pippa Britton and then displayed incredibly by Vicky Jenkins. An incredible day at the archery watching a British athlete come back from a week in hospital to win Bronze, making it a full-house for the ParalympicsGB W1 female archers.”
Ultimately the day was an opportunity to learn how to be ready to deliver medal winning performances in Tokyo and for any final questions and discussions with the experienced athlete mentors.
Tomorrow the group will come together to discuss their learnings from the previous day as well as have one-to-one sessions with their mentors before a reception at British House, followed by the Closing Ceremony. This will bring together the full size and scale of the Paralympic Games and reinforce the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ module which helps individuals understand what’s involved in order to make the right ‘performance choice’ about their attendance in Tokyo.