We talked with Dylan about his goals and the role his HPSNZ performance support team plays while he’s in New Zealand and, importantly, while he is 12,000 miles away for such a long period of time.
The top step on the podium at Paris 2024 is the goal for current trampoline world champion Dylan Schmidt.
To get there he has identified that it’s critical to spend more than five months this year in the northern hemisphere for his training, competing and qualifying build up.
“I’m doing everything I can to make my goal happen so the five months away from New Zealand are really important. It’s a big big decision but one I needed to make,” says Dylan.
“It means I’ll be training with good partners, closer to my international coaching support, reducing the number of long haul flights I need to take and training in the warmth of a northern hemisphere summer.”
While coach Angie Dougal is joining Dylan for a big chunk of the overseas campaign, it means the rest of Dylan’s all-important HPSNZ performance support team will be some 12,000 miles away back in Aotearoa New Zealand.
As one of New Zealand’s top Paris prospects, Dylan has wrapped a large support team around his programme.
Campaign lead, HPSNZ Performance Team Leader Adrian Blincoe, is part of a nine strong team including Strength & Conditioning (S&C) coach Simon Chatterton, lead physio Patrick Peng supported by Jen Scott, mental skills coach Dave Galbraith, nutritionist Tanya Hamilton, medical lead Dr Bruce Hamilton, performance and technique analyst Elliott Snedden, performance life coach Carolyn Donaldson and coach support and trusted advisor Tristan Collins.
Dylan says the length of his pre Paris international programme meant he and the group had to make the best plan possible for communications, to ensure regular check ins on key aspects of the campaign which are common to everyone.
“I will have a physio with me for some of the time and I will also have more regular check ins with S&C and my nutrition support.
“I am extremely fortunate that Angie is far more than just a technical coach. She is key to communication with the wider support team who she trusts implicitly and uses across all aspects of the campaign – gym, wellbeing, nutrition and campaign planning.”
Prior to Dylan heading overseas, he and S&C coach Simon worked very hard to make sure he was as strong, robust and healthy as possible.
“We needed to make sure he can train, compete and recover well. We have a collaborative S&C approach that Dylan and I have been working on together for a couple of years now,” says Simon.
“While he’s away our regular video check ins ensure Dylan has what he needs, that his programme is suitable to his location, that he’s tracking in the right direction and, importantly, that he feels like he is getting the most out of his support team from home.”
Collaborating with the wider HPSNZ performance health team is a very big piece of the support puzzle, says Simon.
“Like many elite athletes who are training and competing at the highest level over long periods of time, Dylan has a few injury niggles we need to keep on top of. We link really tightly with the whole performance health team to make sure he’s in the best body shape to maximise his training while he’s away.”
A key member of the performance support team is Performance Life Coach, Carolyn Donaldson who has been working with Dylan for eight and a half years.
“When Dylan came into the high performance system he was a young guy just out of school and going to uni. A lot of our focus at that time was supporting the transitions needed to manage his life as he moved into the high performance pathway,” says Carolyn.
“Over time, that has evolved into the wider development of ‘himself’, who he is beyond his sport, his identity, values, and his career development.
“Dylan has really embraced the support. We do a lot of planning and exploring of learning opportunities. I support him with making difficult decisions in life and managing relationships and communications. All of which is aimed to ensure his overall wellbeing.”
Carolyn says she has wonderful support from Dylan’s wider performance team. “We have regular ‘Team Dylan’ meetings to hear from each other about what’s going on in all areas, we communicate through team emails and if I have a specific question I reach out direct.
“I’d describe Dylan’s performance support team as having an open trusted relationship which is essential to help us collectively support him to achieve his goals.”
As the current World Champion and Tokyo bronze medallist, Dylan says he does feel a bit of extra pressure heading into Paris. “But I am in a good spot mentally and content with what I’ve done, where I’m at and who I am as a person and as an athlete.
“And I couldn’t do it without my performance support team. They have all the experience and knowledge I could want. I’m very lucky to have the team I’ve got.”