Over 10 years ago I had the privilege of working with the first ever cohort of potential Paralympic Canoeists at Holme Pierrepont. I had was working toward my UKSCA Accreditation as a young strength and conditioning coach and had started working with canoeing and cerebral palsy athletes in the Nottinghamshire area. I'd be tasked with working with a young man with ataxic cerebral palsy named Matt. Matt was struggling to keep up with the other athletes due to his lack of strength and motor control compared to the other athletes who had higher levels of motor function. Working with Matt was the most humbling experience of my life and 10 years later we are still in touch. It seemed to me that during all of Matts life people had focused on what he couldn't do because of his disability. I remember a close member of Matts inner circle telling me he would never be able to achieve certain physical skills. That summer Matt defied all the odds and all the naysayers and became stronger and more capable than ever. We saw his confidence grow and watched him grow into a young man who realised he could do anything he set his mind to. 10 years have passed since that point. Matt and I caught up to discuss his life and progress and he categorically told me that his time in the GB squad changed him as a human being and made him realise he could do all the thing's he wanted to do. He said ' I thought I would be living with my parents until I was 40.' He now has a wife, child and owns his own home. I will be forever grateful for being able to work with Matt and see him defy the odds. Matt is part of the reason Recharged Wellbeing exists. We need to change the narrative and start focusing on what people can do and not what they can't. What I learned in high performance environments is that people focus on what they can do and what they can control not on what they can't. Matt started as young man who was timid and lacked confidence and became a man who is Healthy, Active and Courageous in every sense of the word.
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