Posted on 23/09/2019 in Acrobatic


Three of Scotland’s top athletes are supporting Scottish Gymnastics’ long-term commitment to improving the mental wellbeing of members. 

Scotland's most successful gymnast Dan Purvis, 400m sprinter Eilidh Doyle and judo’s Euan Burton talk about their mental fitness on the brand-new Scottish Gymnastics podcast, which begins next week. They have all represented their country at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and world and European championships.

Scottish Gymnastics recognises the importance of supporting mental health and fitness across the membership, board and staff teams and is committed to making mental wellbeing a priority area for the remainder of the strategic plan, providing support across all areas.

The mental fitness programme began this summer with a series of workshops for athletes on the performance programmes and their parents, and coaches.

The podcast series over six months will combine athlete stories with practical tools and exercises to help support young gymnasts balance their mental fitness along with their physical conditioning and skills training. The first episode on 30 September features Dan talking about the stick he got for being a boy who did gymnastics in a football-mad home town, injuries, his strategies for competitions and the challenges that come with retiring from competing.

Dan said: “The Scottish Gymnastics podcast will be absolutely fantastic and I think it’s what kids, especially growing up now, need. It’s a different world, there’s a lot on social media and everything like that. 

“Having someone like myself and other athletes who have been through it all from when they were little all the way to the top, it’s important to hear our side of it and hear about our struggles as it can be very similar especially really key things like deselection, injuries, competition pressures on wanting to perform. So listening to other athletes who have been there I think it’ll be excellent and fantastic for the kids growing up to listen to.”

Scottish Gymnastics Head of Performance and Education, Sam Hendrikson explained more about the programme, saying: “Sport is amazing as it offers so many positives and benefits but it also can be tough. You work hard for your personal goals and results, which is great when things are going well. But how do you cope when things are not so good, whether in the gym or if you have other distractions, issues at school or work or other pressures.

“Hearing from athletes who have competed at the very top and won Olympic medals will help gymnasts understand how others have come through difficult times in their sporting journey, and that support is available – you are not alone.

“The series is hosted by a wellness consultant and a psychotherapist and although the tools in the podcasts are aimed at helping gymnasts, they are useful for parents and coaches, and indeed everyone, whether they are involved in sport or not.

“We are really excited about the series and grateful to Dan, Eilidh and Euan for being so open and honest in their podcasts, sharing their experiences which will help young athletes hoping to be just as successful in their own sporting careers.” 

You can find the Scottish Gymnastics podcast from Monday 30 September on Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, Spreaker and Castbox.

• 30th September: Daniel Purvis
• October: TOOL 1 - Breathing 
• November: Eilidh Doyle 
• December: TOOL 2 - Body scan 
• January: TOOL 3 + 4 Visualisation & competitive anchoring
• February: Euan Burton 

Image: Dan Purvis competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games where he won team bronze. Courtesy of British Gymnastics/copyright Alan Edwards

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