Mel Marshall

067: Mel Marshall on evolving coaching

This week’s guest is Mel Marshall. As a swimmer Mel made five Olympic finals at two Olympic games’ and she is one of the most decorated swimmers for England at the Commonwealth Games. You’re likely to know Mel as much for her reputation as an elite swimmer as the coach of perhaps the most dominant swimmer on the planet at the moment – the imperious Adam Peaty.

Mel has coached Adam from his pre-teenage years taking him to the top of the Olympic podium in the 100m breaststroke at the Rio Olympics and having devastated the 100m breaststroke world record breaking it on five occasions.

Mel shares her tensions about what the COVID-19  crisis has taught her and how she needs to balance her energy and frustrations and when she’ll switch her focus. She shares her philosophies of coaching and how these evolved over the 12 years she’s been out of the pool and guiding others. And in a fascinating section Mel lets us in on the 4 facets of what makes Adam Peaty great, how he’s always had these and how it’s up to her to channel his voracious athletic and competitor talents.

Show notes

Adapting to COVID-19 personally and professionally creating working environments, winning each round but struggling with the lack of buzz personally

12 weeks out of water, what is lost in terms of physicality and psychology?

Innovating programmes

Building momentum for 2021, accepting and moving training forward confidently

Supporting confidence with short term goals

Mel is ‘on’ but she’s not ‘on on’!

Mel the coach and Mel the swimmer

Sticking to the process and making the coaching athlete centred

Mel’s reason for becoming a coach

Adam Peaty and his abilities physically and psychologically

Preparation minds and bodies

The difference between club level and elite level sport

Mel’s proudest achievement, her relationship with Adam

Coaching the shit out of emotions

Knowing athletes and what makes them tick

Mel’s favourite day as an athlete…it may surprise you!

Coaching into the unknown and the emotional toll it takes



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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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