How to Improve Your Mental Strength: Secrets from an Olympian

How to Improve Your Mental Strength: Secrets from an Olympian

Chris Cook

Chris Cook is a former double Olympian & Double Commonwealth Champion.  After competing for Great Britain for nearly 10 years, he hung up the trunks and retired from international swimming and began working with businesses/organisations far and wide to help inspire, mentor and coach people to embrace ‘challenge and change’ for their optimal performance. Chris has built a reputation as a motivational speaker throughout the last 7 years working from referral to referral, sharing his story and the lessons learnt from the journey with over 400,000 people. 

Chris and his wife Erica also run their own Learn to swim business – ‘Swim Buddies’ which has seen the business (located in Darlington, UK) grow from 7 swimmers in their first week in September 2014 through to over 1000 children swimming with Swim Buddies every week.

Chris’s coaching, speaking and mentoring is centred around personal development. Whether it’s in the water helping swimmers or on dry land in business and life, Chris believes that success is something you attract from the person you become.

In this episode 140, double Olympian and former Commonwealth champion swimmer, Chris Cook joined me.  We discussed his journey to becoming an Olympian and his role now as a motivational speaker and executive coach.  Different obstacles that he overcame were also talking points, as were how he sets goals and works to achieve them.  Chris also shares many great questions that you can ask yourself and what sports performers can learn from CEOs in the business world.

Key Learning Points:

  • Having people that I was accountable to as a child was important.
  • My biggest fear was getting to the end of something and realising I hadn’t tried hard enough.
  • There were times when I got over-anxious because I wanted it too much.
  • I realised to progress I needed to become great the stuff I wasn’t good at, goal setting was one thing.
  • People in the business world would benefit from looking at how they view their recovery and make necessary changes.
  • How can I swim 2 lengths of the pool faster was a question I often asked myself.
  • Seeing difficult moments as growth opportunities and being brave enough to face them is vital.

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To Listen to Relevant Podcast Episodes

Ep033: Aly Dixon – Mental Toughness Lessons from a World Champion

Ep048: Natalie Hurdley – How to Build Mental Toughness through Powerlifting

Ep066: Marilyn Okoro – Mental Health and Resilience: Lessons from an Olympic Medalist

Ep110: Dan Steele – How to Increase Mental Fortitude: Secrets from an Olympian

Other Helpful Resources

Driscolls Model of Reflection

Blog – Do You Really Want to Succeed

Blog – 12 Reasons Why You Won’t Achieve Your Potential

Blog: 9 Tips for Children from Olympians



Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and we read every single one of them!

David Charlton

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly. 

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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