In this episode of ‘the mental series’, we interviewed Matt Weston, a GB Skeleton athlete (and world cup podium holder) who has proven that with very little experience, a strong and consistent mentality and a good support system can go a long way in breaking barriers and ultimately achieving your biggest goals and dreams.
Matt Weston shocked the Skeleton community in Innsbruck 2020 by achieving a silver medal at the IBSF World Cup, bringing home GB’s first podium in 10 years. Weston’s achievement is even more impressive when we take his little experience into account; the normal trajectory for a world cup athlete spans around 8 years, whereas Weston managed to achieve his first podium with only 16 races to his name and only 4 years of competition.
Although Weston has a background of sporting achievements, such as Rugby and Taekwondo, nothing compares to the velocity and extreme conditions that skeleton provides. It is therefore obvious that there were many mental and physical barriers that Weston had to face when moving into such a dangerous, fast paced, and technical sport. The British Slider highlighted that the “fear factor” was one of the more difficult mental barriers that him and his team had to overcome.
So, the question lies: In which mentality and environment did Weston implement himself in order to overcome such fears, and how did he manage to prosper so quickly when competing against more experienced and well-renowned athletes? When we spoke to Weston, he underlined two very important factors; Firstly, the presence of a strong support system, and secondly his mental capacity to accept mistakes and failures as much as his successes.
1. The strong support system. “My team, my family and my girlfriend helped me gain confidence when entering this sport”; he is surrounded in a positive and trustworthy environment in which he can thrive. Weston puts a lot of emphasis on the positive impact his team mates have on his performance; “even though I am competing in an individual sport, my teammates help pick me up through the tough times. A few bad races or if I’m feeling low, I have my teammates to lift my mood back up.”
2. Accepting the mistakes: "knowing I haven’t been long in the sport meant that I knew I was bound to make mistakes, and I won’t beat himself up too much for it”. Weston makes sure that he learns from his mistakes, rather than seeing it as something negative. He accepts that mistakes are part of every athletes journey, and that’s where his mental advantage lies. “The key is how quickly are you going to learn from your mistakes” explains Weston, “how do we make sure it doesn’t happen again”.
Although it is harder said than done, learning to accept mistakes are an essential factor in succeeding in any industry - Weston has highlighted the difficulty behind it, especially in such a stressful Olympic Season like this one.
Fortunately, VIST garments are mistake free; Our perfectly detailed clothing give our athletes one less thing to worry about, allowing them to prosper as well as Matt Weston has.