A genuine mindset interview with Dave Scott

January 20th 2021

By Matt Hill
Categories: Athlete Resources

A genuine mindset interview with Dave Scott

Helen Murray discusses a side of Dave Scott that has not been heard before in her Inside Tri Show podcast series where he discusses his battle with depression

Sometimes we can all say we stumble across hidden gems; this is one of those cases. By now you will probably have noticed that we share our thoughts and advice freely, but the message is often different to the “generic” advice you would hear / read if you googled the topic.

We believe we have developed a blended approach to our assessment of events and circumstance, mixing objectivity, relativity and realism. Attempting to observe and think things through from multiple angles while not letting emotions get involved (as hard as it may be!). Trying to assess what is really going on and how to best interpret the information.

What attitude do you have, what …..…ist are you?

This approach is the same whether dealing with science, racing/training outcomes or people. A HUGE part of coaching deals with psychology.

The fine art of educating and managing athletes is a topic that is not well explained or focused on when you go through coaching “qualifications”. So, over the years, it is a skill we have developed in our own way – through self-study as well as “on deck”, in the real world while working with athletes. In terms of benefits, having a resilient and adaptable mindset is without a doubt the most powerful skill for an athlete to have. Physiology and physical training is obviously important but this is the easiest part, the way the mind works is far more influential!

The danger of comparison

A common trait we all have, even us at times, is how we compare ourselves to other people. It is difficult nowadays to not compare; gone are the days that we were only exposed to a handful of local athletes. Now we are subjected to, literally, MILLIONS of others for all over the world, thanks to digital platforms (and the algorithms that control them, and us!).

Comparison leads to self-doubt, anxiety, and self-sabotage – which is why we tell you not to compare – as best you can!

In the conversations we have with athletes about others, when comparisons have been made, one of the first things we counter ask is: “How do you know they ARE as confident, fit, successful or driven as you suspect they are?

Their persona, the vibe they create when with others or the pictures and text used when posting online COULD just be a cover! A disguise, an attempt to boost their own confidence, and sometimes, to deliberately plant doubt in their competitors mind, just like you’d see in the build up to most combat sport event!

Dave’s opening up

This interview with Dave Scott is a great example of this; being the 6 x time Ironman World Champion and winner of countless other events, he has the credentials to be truly confident!

Remember Michael Johnson’s description of confidence:
to have confidence in your ability, training, fitness, commitment, past achievements (in training, racing and health) and mental preparation

Dave ticked the boxes here! In pretty much all other interviews he come across as you’d expect – being heavily “American” in his cheerleading tonality, talking about self-belief, mental toughness and mind preparation. But this time, he reveals a totally different side of his past, and current, psyche.

His description andexperience is actually quite common amongst many top-level athletes (and “successful” people in general).

His public front was false; he suffered from anxiety, eating disorders, self-harming tendencies, etc. He was depressed.

Dave felt such pressure and expectation that he couldn’t seek help – or necessarily knew he needed to, being at a time that mental health was not a big thing.

Going forwards, DON’T compare

Use this resource to change and manage your own ego (chimp brain!), your perception of YOURSELF and of OTHERS. To quote Dave and his advice, which should sound familiar: “Do what you can do in the moment, be in the present.

That means focus on the processes in the moment, not the outcomes that happen in the future and are out of your control.

Remember, not all is as it seems…