Driving High Performance In Young People


Having spent most of my young adult life in elite level sport and committing myself to achieving World-class success; you would have thought that I would be pretty good at articulating my own strengths.


The reality was that after retiring from professional sport I felt lost, dejected and I had no idea how to transfer the skills that I acquired at elite level sport into the ‘real’ world. I felt pretty useless if I’m honest. I was an expert in fencing but I had no idea what my strengths actually were beyond a sporting arena. How was I going to leverage my strengths and be successful in my life after sport?

Shortly after retiring from fencing in 2012 I was fortunate enough to meet the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. They were one of the first organisations who helped me to understand that my skills were transferrable and I could be successful elsewhere. During my time as Athlete Manager, the Trust offered training around personal, social and emotional development, which is where I was lucky enough to meet Sport and Beyond. They delivered workshops around ‘knowing yourself’, helping to give athletes a robust and objective understanding of how they operate as people. The workshops also helped to start the process of how athletes might need to adapt their behaviour to get the best out of others.

This was the first time I carried out a behavioural assessment. I received an analysis of my preferred work behaviours patterns, as well as patterns under pressure, and key words that helped me to understand my strengths and list them clearly on my CV.

As an Associate of Sport and Beyond, I am now honoured to be part of a similar workshop called ‘To Boldly Go’ delivered nationwide in schools. Everything we do is about driving high performance in young people. The confidence module workshop enables students to understand and interpret their reports, and specifically to gain awareness of and confidence in how they operate. We use sporting examples to drive high educational performance.

The workshop helps students with their studies, exams, personal statements and interviews, as well as with their future success in the workplace. The earlier you can increase your self-awareness and articulate your strengths, the better.

Schools offer careers testing, and aptitude testing but no one seemed to be asking the key questions to students – what are your strengths and how does this inform your work and your future?

Having a deeper understanding of yourself and how to operate around others to get the best out of them, will ultimately put you one step ahead of the crowd and enable you to become a better performing person.

What I know now is that the strengths that I acquired through elite level sport such as my learning agility, perseverance and strong work ethic, have given me the confidence to transition successfully and embark on a new chapter in my life beyond sport.

My learning agility has allowed me to adapt to any new challenges and skills that I have undertaken in the workplace. My perseverance and strong work ethic have given me the confidence and courage to start a new career in people development. A career that I love, and one that makes me feel as alive as I did during my fencing career. My advice would be to start getting to know yourself and your strengths as early as you possibly can.

If your school is interested in finding out more about To Boldly Go please get in touch with Claire at Claire@sportandbeyond.co.uk

Claire BENNETT1 Comment