2012 World Champion on the water: a RT story

Adam Nisbet 2012 World Champion for Long Distance Ocean Ski

Can you share a bit of background on your situation and how things were for you before you started using some of the Raising Talent principles and techniques?

I am a 24 year old professional surf ski paddler from Durban.

I began my sporting career as a swimmer and surf lifesaver where I excelled in the junior ranks. However I always struggled with the mental aspect in performing consistently, and more specifically in putting together the big performances which I knew I was capable of on competition days.

Since 2007 I have been focusing on surf ski paddling, one of the fastest growing sports in the country and characterized on the international stage by a World Series with +-15 races around the world each year. The International Surf Ski World Series can be described as something similar to Surfing’s World Championship Tour.

Physically, in the past two years I have been closing the gap on the elite guys who are currently at the top of the sport. This was reflected in training sessions where I was measuring and recording how close I was to them. However, my performances were not reflecting these improvements as much as I would have liked. This is the point where I came to see you, Tim.

What was the most valuable thing that you got/experienced from using the techniques?

The most valuable thing I can take from using these techniques is “belief”. I began to believe in my abilities as soon as I got rid of past demons that were holding me back from believing that I belonged at the top of any sport.

Furthermore, I learned techniques to put myself into the right headspace so that these negative beliefs which I had built up in my mind over a number of years would not creep into my mind on race days. I would focus on positive things that were under my control, rather than negative thoughts that were restricting my performance.

By keeping a positive headspace throughout a race (not just prior to a race), I was also able to react positively to pressure situations where I was normally falling short mentally i.e. I became a lot more mentally tough at critical stages of races that I was competing in.

Specifically what techniques did you use, and how did they help you?

The most influential technique that I have found is that of making “movies” in mentally preparing for both training and competition. This has helped me to fast track the development of the mental characteristics described in the book ‘In the Zone’ by building them into my movie.

I began to create scenarios from past experiences, as well as from experiences that I was having in practice and using the lessons learned from these scenarios to continuously update and improve my movie. For example, mental toughness was something which I really struggled with. I started to put myself in positions in races and in practice where I would require myself to be extremely mentally tough in order to get through. Over a short period of time, as I was able to overcome these mental toughness hurdles that I was setting for myself in training, I was also able to build a positive response in my mind on how to deal with these situations when they arose in competition.

Can you share a short testimonial on the impact of using these techniques for you in your life?

I was struggling with the fact that I was putting a lot of time and effort into my training, and was receiving no motivation from the performances that I was putting together.

The techniques described in this book have helped me to change my mental positioning drastically over the last 8 months. I recently returned from Adelaide, Australia with the World Championship title to my name and I believe that this is largely due to the improvements that I have made to my mental positioning rather than any physical improvements.

While I am excited about the progress I have made thus far, I am at the same time very aware that I have not yet tapped into the full means of what my mental ability could be. I am eager to take myself to the next level and look forward to reading your new book ‘Raising Talent’. From what I have heard it is incredible.