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CASE STUDY: Helen Upperton -
Overcoming the pressure of expectations

Helen Upperton

Helen joined the Bobsleigh World Cup circuit during the 2003-2004 season and she made an impression. Helen's unexpected excellent results early in the season led to speculations. She was definitively a rookie to watch.

Outside expectations:
During her sophomore season, Helen stumbled. Within a very challenging team setting, she found it impossible to live up to everyone's expectations. She failed to showcase her talent.

Coaching led to increased Purpose and Intent:
The summer before the 2005-2006 season, Helen hired Richard Monette to act as a peak mental performance coach. Richard helped Helen clearly define the challenges she faced. Then he helped her clarify her purpose, as well put in place a series of perspective, skills and techniques to achieve success.

The Result - The freedom to perform to her potential:

Helen attacked the 2005-2006 season with great enthusiasm, focus and energy. She perfected her ability to perform as well as her leadership over her team. Results came right away: in four races so far this season, she reached three podiums and qualified to represent Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.

What Helen had to say about Richard Monette's coaching:

I knew after struggling through my second season on the world cup tour that my biggest problem was handling pressure and distractions. I wanted to work with someone who could help teach me how to manage all of these things. I believed that success would come eventually, but I needed to learn how to approach my competitions better.

Richard has been a tremendous influence on my season. He has helped me to feel more prepared, more confident, and more relaxed at the start line. He has helped me put everything into perspective and this has allowed me to focus on a much more simple and clear objective going into my races. Now I can compete and enjoy the experience…and not be afraid of the outcome. He has helped me learn how to honestly evaluate every aspect of my competitions and gain as much knowledge as possible from every experience. I am become a better athlete and a better competitor because of this new approach.

2007- 2008 Season, becoming the most successful Canadian female bobsleigh pilot ever:
During the 2007-2008 season, Helen enhanced her performance level: She won two more world cup races, ranked third in the world at the end of the season, and placed fourth at the world championships in Altenberg, Germany. These successes have made her the most successful Canadian female bobsleigh pilot ever.

Onward to the 2010 Olympics:
Beyond her successes of this season, Helen is focusing her efforts toward the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. On the road to Whistler, she will continue to improve her mental game with the help of Richard. More specifically she will seek to deepen her sense of purpose, enhance her ability to rest and recover, improve her leadership skills as the pilot of "Canada 1” and help her teammates increase their belief in their ability to succeed as a team. She will also continue to enjoy her passion for her sport and her quest for exceeding limits.

Read articles about Helen’s victories:
Canada's Upperton wins 2nd bobsled gold
Upperton golden in bobsleigh race
Helen Upperton: Fast-Tracked Development

Learn about Helen by visiting her Web site: