Emily McLean says she will be far tougher mentally on court from now on after taking part in a talent camp overseen by Olympic champion Jason Gardener.
The 17-year-old, from Beaconsfield, was part of a pool of 100 aspiring Olympians and Paralympians across a range of sports who took part in the Youth Sports Trust camp at Loughborough University, just before Christmas.
Emily, who plays in a junior women’s league and recently won a bronze medal at this year’s UK School Games, found the four-day camp no easy ride.
She was tested for both her mental and physical attitudes towards her sport, through a mix of tough training sessions and classroom workshops, but said it was all worthwhile.
“The best thing I learnt at the camp was ‘the chimp’ – the part of your brain that tells you, you can’t do something, when you can,” said Emily, who has been playing wheelchair basketball ‘since I was four or five’.
“All the other camps are more about training and less about the mental side of sport, but this camp was different.
“Learning about how to plan ahead was also important, because I’ve never been good at doing that. Next I want to play in the Celtic Cup for Scotland.”
Gardener – a sprint relay gold medallist at the Athens Olympics in 2004 – was aided by canoeist Campbell Walsh, England football captain Faye White, England Rugby Union vice captain Maggie Alphonsi and wheelchair basketball player Gaz Choudry.
“These youngsters have been given a great opportunity to learn from some of the UK’s most successful sports stars, so it’s something they should be grabbing on to with both hands,” Gardener said.