Nicola McDermott-Journaling Her Way to Olympic Silver
While watching the Olympics, you come across so many exciting stories. I’m always drawn to the coaching aspect focusing on the various methods the world’s best athletes use to achieve this level. Australian high jumper Nicola McDermott took a silver medal in the high jump clearing 2.02 meters (about 6’7″). Between jumps, Nicola has a fascinating method of refocusing and preparing for her next jump. She would rate herself on various aspects of her technique in a notebook.
Between jumps, McDermott sat down with her journal at the end of every single jump. The unusual tactic helped deliver her a silver medal as she jumped higher than any other Australian woman in history. “I was rating myself out of 10 for every single component of the jump. The last jump was my highest; I gave myself 10 out of 10 but still had work to do.
“After every jump, Australian high jumper Nicola McDermott sits down, retrieves a notepad, and scores various aspects of her jump out of 10. On Saturday, on her way to winning a silver medal at Tokyo 2020, it was 10/10. “There were a few nines, but overall I rounded up – I gave it a 10,” she laughed.
She would never look at another jumper perform. “She only looks up after they have finished jumping. She looks down and looks elsewhere, so she doesn’t take that in as a mental image. “She only has to think of what she is doing. The other thing we found was for her to sit down and write in a book, “She can focus on herself. She writes in that and gets the image of what she thinks is a problem or might have done well.
I find this intriguing as I’m convinced that most players in both collegiate and high school do not have a clear picture of the skills they are trying to perform.