Sara Symington – Performance Director England Netball and Double Olympian – Cycling

June 1, 2020

Listen to a Double Olympian who started competing late in her career, has not always worked in sport and now holds several influential positions within sport. Sara shares a real insight into the brutal nature of her sport and even describes it as a game of ‘poker’. Knowing yourself, chronic fatigue, transitioning jobs, taking opportunities, positivity, transferable skills and team dynamics are just a few of the many areas we touched on.

Sara became Performance Director at England Netball five years ago & recently led the England Roses to a historic gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Other career junctures include a six year stint as Performance Director at Archery GB, three years at UK Sport as a Performance Advisor, two years as a Business Manager in the City & three years as a police officer working in Nottingham inner city. Presently she is Vice Chair of the UK Sport Performance Director Strategic Group (PDSG) & a Non Exec Director (NED) on the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) & SkateBoarding GB Boards. Her education includes a B.Sc in Sports Science & Social Science & a M.Sc in Sport Science (physiology bias).

 Most notable sporting achievements include representing GBR at both triathlon & cycling – the latter involved two Olympic Games & two Commonwealth Games in road cycling, & multiple world championships (road & track). Sara was the first female to podium at World Cup level for GBR in 1998 & continues to challenge herself outside work (when time allows!) in endurance based sports ranging from half ironman’s to adventure races & individualised coaching.

Other interests include developing herself as a mentor/executive coach with an ambition longer term to formalise her passion for developing people’. She currently works with coaches within the Premier League, ECB & UK Sport World Class program


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Show Notes:

Success Quote or saying:

‘Can do….!’

‘Get the basics right’

Quick fire questions:

The books that you would recommend are?

Time to Think: Listen to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline
Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream: WINNER OF THE TELEGRAPH SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance By Atul Gawande

Redemption: From Iron Bars to Ironman by John McAvoy

What is the most useful and or valuable Technology you use (apps, equipment etc…)?

 Embraced teams and zoom and value my phone as it has everything in one place


How do you relax and re energise yourself to enable you to perform at your best?

Prepare!!!  Also, self-talk (I can, I will, I do) to self-assure and breathing technique


If you won the lottery…

Pay off the mortgage, donate to charity and continue to work


In one sentence – What advice would you give to your teenage version of yourself?

Keep up your education and get as much work experience as you possibly can


Who has made a big impact on you?

·       Nick Lee – My early school PE Teacher

·       Mick Thorneywell (An inspector I worked with in the police)

·       John Herrity (Cycling Team Manger)

·       Peter Keen (Coached me !)


Whos’ Sport Story would you be really interested in hearing?

·       Serena Williams

·       Lance Armstrong


Coaching questions I would like to pose:


What self-talk do you have that does not help you and what can you change it to so that it becomes more helpful and effective?


What opportunities are you not taking and why?


Contact info:






sara symington

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