“We need to normalise talking about mental health and why we need to look after it!” - Patrick Foster Delivers Inspirational Presentation To The Players At Stamford Rugby Club
Patrick Foster, is a fantastic role model, not only for young people but also for men and women across the country. There are so many elements to Patrick’s story, that mean whoever his audience is, they may be able to personally relate to what he has been through or know someone close to them that they want to help and support.
We were delighted to join the players at Stamford Rugby Club this week, for an evening presentation and Q&A with Patrick, who is delivering his incredible presentations to audiences across the country, to support and fundraise for his London Marathon challenge, which he will be completing this year in support of The Mintridge Foundation.
Stamford Rugby Club welcomed Patrick to speak to their players about why talking about mental health matters and to raise awareness of how your mental health can positively and negatively impact all areas of your life. Supported by the staff at The Mintridge Foundation, who are Mental Health First Aiders, Patrick delivered an inspiring but hard-hitting story about his battle with addiction and the consequences this has had on his life so far. As a club that has experienced its own loss and turmoil over the last couple of years, they are making huge steps forward in talking about mental health and challenging the stereotypes associated with what it means to be a ‘tough man’, and the belief that ‘showing weakness means you are weak.’ perceptions that are sometimes found within men’s sports clubs. The club have been huge supporters of the Max Hunter Fund, and with personal connections to Max Hunter, Patrick’s story was even more relevant and eye opening for the players who attended the evening.
“The ones that seem like they are ok, they are the ones you need to look after the most.”
It was incredibly important for the members of Stamford Rugby Club to hear about Patrick’s journey and how he came out of the other side of some very difficult points in his life, so they too can gain an understanding of how your mental health can influence the path and the decisions you make along your journey.
“We need to normalise talking about mental health and why we need to look after it!”
It was so great to see the players on this call opening up about their own experiences and seeking some guidance from Patrick about how they can support each other but also other members of their communities. Due to Patricks honesty and vulnerability on this call, the players felt empowered and supported to speak about their own experiences, which we are delighted to have facilitated.
“I always thought that mental health issues don’t happen to me, but if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone!”
With his story, Patrick highlighted that it was ok not to be ok and that sharing your problems is not a weakness but more of a strength, which is a big focus for the coaching staff and players at Stamford Rugby Club. For players working in a club environment, Patrick was in a perfect position to speak to them about the world of professional sport and how incredibly competitive it can be on and off the pitch.
“It was the first time in my life I had been told I wasn’t good at something…you always think you are going to bounce back well from things like this but I just didn’t.”
Patrick has a very unique story, and we are very fortunate to be able to share his story with young people, schools and sports clubs across the country.
The players led a brilliant discussion at the end of the presentation with Patrick and some of the best questions they discussed were:
How did your friends and family react to finding out about the extent of your gambling?
What is your current job now?
Were you surprised by people’s reactions and how those people spoke to you after you told them what was going on?
How do we challenge the stigma around mental health and what can we be doing to support others around us?
As the evening came to a close, Patrick left the players with some things to think about as they go on into their next rugby season and we start to return to a ‘normal’ way of life.
“As mates and as teammates, when something happens in someone’s life, on or off the pitch, that is when you need to rally round people as that’s when they are most vulnerable. So do what you can to support them, listen non judgementally and when things go wrong in your life, you must be kind to yourself!”
We are delighted that we could put together this evening with the players at Stamford Rugby Club and Patrick and we hope his messages are helpful for them to hear now and in the future. We look forward to seeing the players from Stamford Rugby Club soon and we thank them for all of their support.
Patrick Foster is running the London Marathon for The Mintridge Foundation and he would love your support. Please click the link below to find out more about his challenge and why he is raising money for Mintridge.
Heather Fell OLY Delivers An Inspirational Presentation And Q&A With The Talented Athletes At Howell's School
Team Mintridge were really excited to be joined by the incredible Heather Fell OLY, as she spoke to the students at Howell’s School as part of their Talented Athlete Programme (TAP). Heather spent the evening with the students talking about her journey in Modern Pentathlon and beyond but also the highs and lows that come with competing for Great Britain at the top of your sport.
Heather made a big impact on the students during the presentation and Q&A programme, as she spoke about the highs and lows on her journey to Olympic success. Heather has faced a lot of challenges on her journey and she made it very clear to the students on the call that everyone faces challenges and setbacks, but the strongest ones pick themselves up and carry on. The students on the call could really relate to this area of Heather’s life and were really interested in the particular challenges she faces when having to compete on horses you don’t know, when your funding gets cut and how to come back from injury.
“You always need to make sure you are looking at the bigger picture, we all have strengths and weaknesses, so you need to find what makes you the best athlete and person to reach your own personal goals!”
As the presentation went on, Heather also expressed the importance of always putting in 100% effort and always doing that extra 1% more than your competitors, to stand out from everyone else. Heather spoke about this in detail when talking about the selection process for the GB Modern Pentathlon squad, especially when they were picking the teams for the Olympics. Heather got the students on the call thinking about how they can push themselves that 1% further and harder to stand out, whether that is in a sporting context or outside of sport in their exams or personal hobbies. Heather said she has some favourite mottos which she lives by, including this one.
“Take a moment to think about your why and if your why is there and your purpose is there, then you will keep moving forward!”
Heather also spoke a lot about her life after retiring from elite sport, showcasing to the students on the call that you can still do so much with your life, even when the Olympic Games is no longer a focus, or you have achieved what you set out to do. This inspired those on the call, to keep reaching and working at all that they do and to make sure their academic studies are something they always have in their back pocket, in case their career gets cut short.
From this, Heather spoke to the students in detail about diet and nutrition, which is a passion of hers. Heather talked about how important it is to hydrate and eat appropriate energy giving foods before and after training, or a competition, as well as to always warm up and cool down, as those are the most important things for injury prevention.
The students at Howell’s School asked Heather some fantastic questions, here are some of the best ones.
“How do you keep yourself motivated after a bad day?”
“How do you cope with muscle soreness after a hard competition?”
“How do you mentally prepare yourself before a competition?”
“Do you get nervous?”
“How do you deal with nerves?”
“How do you pick yourself up after an injury?”
“Do you have any tips on injury prevention?”
“What heights are the show jumping rounds in juniors and seniors?”
“How did it feel getting to know your horse twenty minutes before a round?”
“How do you get yourself mentally ready to before you compete?”
“What are some of the things that have helped you overcome injuries?”
“What advice can you give a young athlete who has missed training and competing due to COVID-19?”
We were delighted to be able to join the students from Howell’s School alongside the amazing Heather Fell, for an inspirational evening. Thank you to the staff at Howell’s School for helping to organise this amazing programme and allowing us to virtually visit you. We can’t wait for our next visit with a few more of our inspirational female role models!
"Fail your way to success!" - Liz Cann Delivers An Inspirational Presentation And Q&A With The Sports Scholars At Prior's Field School
Mintridge Presentation and Q&A Programme with Liz Cann at Prior’s Field School.
“Fail you way to success”, was one of the main themes that Liz Cann mentioned throughout her presentation and Q&A programme when we went back to virtually visit the Sports Scholars at Prior’s Field School. As part of our series of presentations with the Sports Scholars, Liz covered a range of topics to help support the students on their own journeys.
The Scholars have already met the amazing Emma Wiggs MBE and Jade Windley, who they could relate to in a number of ways. So now it was Liz’s turn to share her sporting story but also the key messages and learnings that she has been able to use and experience throughout her career and now in her life after sport. Liz reflected on some incredible stories about her playing career, that really resonated with the Scholars at Prior’s Field.
As a former professional badminton player and having competed at the Commonwealth Games, Liz has experienced some incredible highs in her career and has often had to change the plan or fail a lot on her journey to be successful. During her youth, Liz had to work with a very small network in order to progress in her sport and also rely a lot on her family to get her to competitions and training. This was certainly something that the Scholars at Prior’s Field could really relate to and something that allowed them to recognise how the people around them influence their life and sporting success.
However, like most successful journeys, Liz’s hasn’t been without challenging setbacks to balance out the incredible highs. Liz, like many athletes, missed out on medals at major competitions, has experienced increasing amounts of pressure at major tournaments and struggled when dealing with external influences on her performances. Liz was perfectly placed to chat to the students about how a change in mindset and controlling the controllable elements of your game, can really help and positively influence your journey and the outcomes along the way. Lots of the students could relate to Liz’s feelings and the nerves she felt in a medal winning play off, and how the negative thoughts can sometimes get in the way of your performance. It was incredibly beneficial for the students to hear how Liz has overcome those feelings and setbacks to achieve even greater things on her journey.
“There is a difference between motivation and inspiration. When you find out what motivates you and you really harness that and then surround yourself with people that inspire you, you will go on to achieve whatever you set your mind to.”
We loved that the students took the opportunity to ask Liz lots of brilliant questions during this programme. Some of the best ones were;
“Who was your biggest competition on court?”
“What age did you start playing badminton?“
“If you could choose a different sport to take part in, what would it be?”
“During your career what was your lowest point and how did you come back from it?”
“How did you prepare for a big match or competition?”
“What do you do to stay motivated?”
“Did you ever doubt yourself after not being selected?”
“Do you have any regrets in your career?”
“Who was the hardest opponent you played against?”
“How do you keep a clear head in a Commonwealth Games match?”
Liz gave some excellent answers and words of advice to the students in response to these questions, and we are so pleased that they could benefit from Liz’s incredible experiences.
We have really enjoyed working with the Prior’s Field Sports Scholars on these fantastic presentation and Q&A programmes, and we know that there are a lot of key messages and things that they take away from our time with them and our inspirational Ambassadors.
Liz was really impressed with the questions asked and how well the students interacted in the session, as well as their contributions throughout this programme.
Liz really wanted the students to think about some key questions that she put to them, that can hopefully help them when they are faced with a high pressure scenario or doubting themselves at a major competition.
What is the worst that could happen if you don’t succeed?
Is it that bad? Is it really?
How likely is it to happen?
What could you do to overcome it?
What are you putting off doing that you want or need to do?
Is it the fear of the unknown that prevents us from taking action?
If you don’t take action, what impact will that have on your life?
Secret – the life you want is on the other side of the unknown and on the other side of your ‘discomfort zone’.
Thank you to the teachers at Prior’s Field School for helping to organise another wonderful programme. We are really looking forward to our next presentation with the Prior’s Field Sports Scholars, which will be delivered by the brilliant Laura Sugar.
The Mintridge Foundation is a registered charity dedicated to enhancing life skills in young people through sport. We provide a support network for young people by harnessing the power of positive sporting role models. The Mintridge Foundation assists young people of all ages, abilities, and physical capabilities to develop confidence and resilience, and creates awareness of the importance of mental and physical wellbeing through sport.
Our team of Ambassadors - Olympians, Paralympians and other professional sports stars from over 20 sports, both team and individual - work with young people in schools, clubs and academies across the UK. Starting with visits including assemblies, coaching clinics and classroom sessions tailored to each organisation’s requirements, our ambassadors can then provide one- on- one remote mentoring in a safeguarded environment, delivered via technology such as FitSwarm and Playwaze to build a lasting legacy for individuals.
The Mintridge Foundation’s successes demonstrate the incredible power of sport; from a mentee’s selection to represent Great Britain in their chosen field to enabling disabled children to find confidence and happiness just through participation. Understanding life after sport, we also support our Ambassadors in their transition from active sport to the next stage of their careers.
To find out more about the Mintridge Foundation, please contact Alex Wallace.