When I sat down to chat with Riki Lindsay, coach of the Kiwi weightlifting team in Taipei during the 29th Summer Universiade, I could tell straight away how much of an impact the major multi-sport competition had had on him.
We were watching day five of the athletics event and it was hard to hear each other over a wildly enthusiastic Taiwanese crowd. Riki was so animated and passionate when talking about his first experience at the event, it was hard to jot down notes- but I managed, and here’s what I learned…
For New Zealand weightlifting coach, Riki Lindsay, the 2017 Summer Universiade has shattered former ways of thinking and opened a door to a world of new possibilities.
At only 25 years old, Riki has recently completed his Master of Science in sport psychology at AUT University and is currently looking to begin a PhD in the same area. Head coach for five weightlifting athletes representing New Zealand at this year’s addition of the Summer Universiade in Taipei City, the former lifter explains why this experience has been one of the most inspiring, yet intimidating experiences of his life.
Find out, first-hand, what it’s like being a young coach at one of the largest multi-sport events in the world.
1) This is your first ever multi-sport event, how has your experience been so far?
“That’s a good question, it’s actually pretty hard to put in to words. I’ve never competed or coached at an international event before, so coming here has really been an incredible opportunity. It’s been an assault on my senses really, I had no expectations coming here. The Universiade is beyond what I ever expected”
2) What has been the biggest challenge for you coaching at the Summer Universiade for the first time?
“The biggest challenge was struggling with feeling like I belonged”
“Watching the New Zealand athletes warm up alongside Olympic Champions and coaches with so much experience and history in the sport was both inspiring and intimidating. The biggest challenge was really overcoming my own insecurities about my coaching skills and my age”
3) What have learned from your experience at the 2017 Summer Universiade so far?
“The biggest thing I’ve learned here is to never stop learning and to always pursue more. Now, more than ever I’ve realised how important it is to never get complacent or think that you’ve arrived at a destination. This experience has taught me to always stay open to ideas and new ways of doing things. As a weightlifting coach, I’ve felt there are traditional training methodologies that I’ve needed to follow in order to coach successfully. This event has helped me to develop a more holistic mindset around training, psychological preparations and competition coaching methods. The warm up strategies are a perfect example! I’ve seen things here that are completely new, it’s truly opening my eyes.”
4) What advice, from your experience as a first time coach at the Universiade, would you give to other new coaches ?
“Talk to as many people as you can. I’ve chatted with coaches from throwing sports and table tennis and gymnastics. There’s been something from each conversation I can take away and apply to weightlifting. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversation, it offers you a chance to grow.”
5) Finally, do you have a big dream? A field you want to work on or a change you want to see in the world after this experience?
“I now know I want to stay in coaching, but I also want to be more involved in the psychological well-being of the athletes. My experience at the Summer Universiade has inspired me to help discover ways to help athletes to be both fierce competitors but also to develop the skills needed to be successful in their lives outside of sport. To help athletes cope well with all that life throws at them, in sport, in their professions and in life”
“For me it’s the saddest thing to see an athlete with all the raw physical attributes and talent, but who lacks the mental dexterity to perform to their full potential. I want to be a part of that solution for those athletes in helping them to develop the necessary mental skills to achieve all that they are capable of as athlete and as people. This experience has completely reshaped the way I think about how I coach and the lessons I have learned are ones that I will not easily forget!”