How To Support A Champion
The Art of Applying Science to the Elite Athlete
By Steve Ingham
If you are contemplating working with a champion, a potential champion, or anyone with untapped talent - be prepared, be very prepared. In 1998 Sir Steve Redgrave stared at Ingham and demanded to know, “Are you going to make me go faster?” Ingham had been trained and developed as a scientist, but in that single instance he questioned everything he thought he knew.
Applied science in elite sport has boomed. Science has radically changed elite sport, but one thing remains as the guiding focus - the summit of performing to your best and winning. This applies to the athlete, the coaches and increasingly for the applied practitioner.
In this book Ingham draws on the lessons learned from a career in the intense, unforgiving rollercoaster of elite sport; helping, supporting and developing some of the best athletes in the world, including Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Hayley Tullett, Kelly Sotherton, and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill as they pursue their goals. His journey shows that all the knowledge in the world will get you only so far, but it is with trust, team-work, critical thinking, adaptability, accountability and altruism that you can truly support a champion.
“A brilliant and inspirational book.”
“This book perfectly captures the joys, trials, disappointments, wonders and enormous highs of working with elite athletes (and he’s worked with a fair few!).”
“I literally have not been able to put it down.”
In their Own Words
Sir Steve Redgrave CBE, MBE
“Five Olympic gold medals do not come easy. An athlete requires unremitting focus and the willingness to explore all possibilities for self-improvement. Support staff need to adopt the same approach in developing their own performance."
"The challenge is not to show how smart the scientist is; the challenge is to be a performance partner in the team. Coaches are applied practitioners, sports scientists must be applied scientists helping the coach identify and develop workable performance solutions."
"A personalised application was what I think triggered some of our biggest gains!"
"To be able to really get the most out of coaching and science, both fields have got to work in unison for the benefit of the athlete."
Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE
"When I am stood on the start line, I need to know I have prepared in a meticulous way. Using applied science, gives me confidence to perform to my best."
"Scientists can use all the big words they like, but if they can’t actually make their knowledge and methods useful, then it’s no use to me." Kelly Sotherton “Doing what I had always done was not an option, but change was an unnerving path. Steve showed me how science can be applied in a creative way."
Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE, MBE
“There are very few people that I would consider an insider to our efforts to win at successive Olympics but Steve was one of them. We wouldn’t have achieved it without him. ‘How to Support a Champion’ tells it like it is and is a superb insight into what is required of anyone who supports other people, let alone elite athletes.”
James Cracknell OBE
“There is one thing knowing all of the things you need to do, but you also need a partner to help you prioritise and incorporate ideas into your daily schedule."