Tokyo 2020 Men’s breaststroke gold medal winner Adam Peaty joined presenters Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes on The High Performance podcast this week.
Towards the end of the podcast and at the quick-fire questions section of the interview, Humphrey asked Peaty what his three non-negotiables were for high performance that the people around him have to buy into, to which Peaty responded: “fun, trust, honesty.”
Earlier in the interview, Peaty discussed what he thought a great coach can give to somebody. One thing he touched on was one of his non-negotiables - fun, and it’s clear the points are linked.
He said: “You know, we always talk about performance so seriously, because we talk about medals, we talk about money.. We need to keep the fun in that.
“If we lose the fun, and we lose the field to the youth of the sport and we lose the real reason to why we do it, there’s nothing to it. We’ve lost the sport.
"And that’s why you see some of the greatest athletes in the world probably fall off; because they’ve lost why that kid picked up the racket, they’ve lost why that kid picked up the goggles.
"So never, ever lose that person inside of you and go, right, 'I just wanna be better than yesterday' - that’s it, keep it simple.”
What’s admirable about these comments is that Peaty is currently competing at one of the most important championships of his career, and not only that, he’s doing an amazing job of it - all because he simply loves to swim.
It’s evident he took up swimming because as a child, that is the hobby that he found the most joy from, and he really dedicated himself to the sport until he made it to the highest level.
Peaty will have worked day in, day out over the course of his career and specifically over the past year to prepare for this year’s Olympics, and to him every moment is worth it because, although he will have worked through likely blood, sweat and tears, he is becoming a legend in the sport that he grew up loving, watching and learning.
He will be setting an example to younger generations of whatever you can set your mind to - you can achieve.
Trust was Peaty’s second non-negotiable of maintaining a high performance, but in reference to who?
Trust would be a major part of Peaty’s team leading up to tournaments, he needs to have full 100% trust in his coach that they will give him complete time and effort to help him achieve to the highest of his ability.
No doubt Peaty’s family are his biggest fans, and have been there since the beginning, and what he’s accomplished may not have been possible without them trusting from the beginning that he was destined to succeed in the sport.
If they didn’t put that trust and faith into him, would he perform as well as he has done throughout his career? Having that support and backing from the people around you is vital to your own self-confidence and therefore, physical performance.
Lastly was honesty, a factor which Peaty also discussed earlier in the interview when referencing what makes a great coach. He said: “It’s a relationship that you have with your athlete”
He went on to add: “I think one of the most important ones is honesty, and communication with that honesty.”
As previously mentioned, when leading up to these pivotal moments in Peaty’s career, the relationship he has with his coach will be one of the most important of all.
His coach will have been preparing the same as the swimmer and they will be spending months together to really prepare him physically and mentally up to those final minutes before he enters the water solo.
The relationship goes beyond the physical training aspect, as Peaty will need constant reassurance on the days that he doubts himself, on the days in training where he hasn’t performed to the level he knows he can or when the nerves start to kick in before the competition and the person who will be there throughout those times, and that he trusts to build him back up, is his coach.