After more than a decade as the best British javelin thrower, Olympic bronze medalist Goldie Sayers hung up her spikes after the Rio Olympics. After she retired she sat down and penned 36 lessons she learned about sport, success, competition, and life during her distinguished career. On this week’s GAINcast she joins us to reflect on the lessons she learned and how they can help athletes and coaches in any sport.
Notes and quotes
Sayers had a long and distinguished career as a javelin thrower that included three Olympic appearances, an Olympic medal (which she is still waiting to receive), five World Championships, two World Championship finals, multiple British records, and many more accolades. She just retired after the 2016 season as has been spearheading an initiative from British Athletics to get more athletes involved in coaching. We focussed our discussion on the many “lessons she has learned over her career.
Reflecting on a career
- 4:30 – Reflecting as an athlete: “When you are involved in a sport, you rarely take a step back unless you have a big injury. Sometimes then a big injury can be a blessing. “
- 8:00 – Applying sports skills to business: “One lessoned I learned: It’s ok to be ok sometimes. ” “As an elite athlete you have all the time in the world, but you don’t have the headspace to do much with that time. “
- 9:30 – How Sayers got started in sport and in the javelin.
- 11:30 – Early specialization: “The next Goldie Sayers isn’t going to be found by having kids specialize younger. The next Goldie Sayers is probably playing another sport. “
- 15:00 – The importance of coaching.
Lessons learned from her career
- 19:30 – Coaching others: “Coaching those less able than you will not only help them but it will aid your own performance, too. “
- 24:15 – Trust your gut.
- 26:00 – Create your own team. “You don’t know what you don’t know. With good people in your corner you learn more. “
- 28:00 – Celebrate success: “One of the hardest things to do is get athletes to realize how good they are; I never realized how good I was during my career because I was always chasing something. “
- 29:30 – “Take the opportunity now, there are no guarantees you’ll get another chance. “
- 34:00 – Don’t go finding problems.
- 36:30 – Finding confidence through consistency.
- 38:00 – The benefits and limitations of sports science. “Sports science can’t measure hard work, desire and heart. “
- 43:45 – Focus:
- 48:00 – Doping: “You can do it clean; it still comes down to how you train. “
- 53:00 – Impacting the state of coaching.
- 59:00 – Upcoming conference.
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- Sayers is active on social media. You can find her on Twitter (@GoldieSayers) and Facebook (>@GoldieSayers).
- Much of the interview focussed on the key lessons learned during her career, which she summarized in this article “What I’ve Learnt From 20 Years of International Sport.” Fellow British javelin thrower and world champion Steve Backley also put together a similar retrospective a few years back.
- For more on her coaching initiative with British Athletics, you can read the recent press release.