Youth archer Max Oakley joins the Global Mentoring Programme through the True Athlete Project.
As a part of the Archery GB Conversion camp, Sam Parfitt (CEO and founder of the True Athlete Project) had come along to sessions to introduce himself and who he was as well as doing some mindfulness sessions with us. He gave us a talk on his Global Mentoring Programme as Archery GB were willing to support conversion athletes who applied. I then went online and filled in their application form and made it through to the interview stage. I had an interview with Kirstie Urwin (UK programme manager for the True Athlete Programme) about myself, my sport, and what I was looking to focus on to help me in my archery career. A few weeks later I was advised that I had been successful, and they then started the process pairing me up with one of their mentors.
We travelled to the European Para Table Tennis Championships at the English Institute of Sport to watch Aaron compete in the doubles category with Martin Perry in the bronze medal match against France. After watching his match, Aaron gave me a tour of the para table tennis facilities where they had a gym, video analysis, training areas, and athletes’ lounge. It was really inspirational, especially seeing all the athletes including Aaron on the wall after his performance at the Paralympics. It was very nice to meet Aaron face to face after only seeing him on video calls for so long. We then stayed for the medal ceremony and saw him get his bronze medal.
The programme brings together athletes from all around the world from a number of different sports. We study together in a programme alongside our mentors that is split into online modules of areas that can help us as an athlete, but also with our performance and how we can use our sport in our community. As well as this, I get a year of mentoring where I can chat regularly with my mentor and learn from their experiences to ensure that I get the best opportunities in my sport. Any concerns that I have within my sport I can talk to them about giving me someone to speak to when I need them. Even though Aaron is not an archer, his experience as a Paralympic athlete means that he can provide me with so much knowledge to help me manage my performance and lifestyle within my own sport.
Absolutely. The programme provides so much by offering me sessions with my mentor, and even though they are not in my sport they can help me develop so much as an athlete as well as a person. They also provide the opportunity to work with other athletes in lots of sports in lots of different places, so we can all share our experiences and our sports providing us with a sense of community. The workshops that they also run are great, covering subjects on body image, nutrition, and plenty more, as well as mindfulness sessions which we are welcome to join at any time. Overall, the programme has provided me with so much and I have really enjoyed my year with them. The thoughts and takeaways that I get from the programme will stay with me as I grow as an athlete across my whole career, and I really appreciate that Archery GB provided me with the opportunity.
Learn more about the True Athlete Project.