Lithuania's Airine Palsyte is one of the – literally – rising stars of athletics. The European indoor high jump champion shares her top tips on life as an athlete.
Be calm and focused on your goals no matter how other competitors are doing. This is a skill I’ve learned over time. Your experience grows with every championship. As you improve your performance level, you gain greater mental strength and become more calm.
If you have a chance, believe in yourself, and take it. No matter whether it is your last attempt, the last lap or the final metres. If you have a chance, just go for it!
Imitate competitions, prepare well, have a plan and be focused. When you are confident and focused, nothing will disturb you.
Before every major championship, with the help of my coach, physio and/or psychologist, we will imitate the day of a championships – both the qualification and final. I usually do this about a month before the major championship.
I do exactly what I would do before the qualification. I warm up as I would in normal competition, we imitate the call room and all the waiting times. We raise the bar as in the competition and I wait 15 to 20 minutes between each jump. It’s usually just a few jumps [from 1.80m to1.92m-1.94m]. After I jump, I go to the therapy and home to rest. The next day or the day after – depending on when the final will be – I come back and act like it is a final. Then we raise the bar from 1.85m or so and I try to jump my maximum. That’s how we imitate the championships.
Good teamwork is the only way to reach your goals. Good communication between a coach, an athlete and a physio is a key to success.
Work to your strengths to develop your own technique. I used to train for heptathlon and I’m quite fast for a high jumper, so I try to use the speed to my advantage. As my coach says, “the jump is born on the ground”. What you do before take-off is really important, so the most important thing to focus on is your approach to the bar.
Tip for surviving the athletics circuit
Surround yourself with a great team of people. On the circuit I have my physio, Mantas Lesnickas, and my crazy team-mates to hang around with. But of course it’s also very important to have a great team around yourself, even if they can’t physically be with you all the time.
I am lucky to have the greatest manager – Kadri Kallas – my family and my friends. Without their support, it would be very hard to live my life on the circuit as a professional athlete.
Taste whatever you cook and don’t be afraid to experiment! Sometimes the craziest experiments end up as a signature dish. I love avocados, prawns, pasta and also buckwheat and beetroots.
Top parental tip
Always finish what you’ve started. Sometimes it gets hard, but don’t quit when you face the first difficulties. This is true whether it is a home task, homework from school or taking care of a new pet or a plant.
Another tip from them is “don’t fall asleep during the good times”. Because while you are celebrating, your rivals are working hard to reach their goals. Don’t let your success be the reason to step back from reaching new goals and ambitions.
Fashion comes and goes but your unique style stays forever. It’s better to be stylish and exceptional than to be fashionable.
It’s not a secret that I like to drive fast, but the most important thing is to drive smart!
Don’t think about sport when you’re on a vacation. Recharge your batteries and have a rest from sport. Resting is sometimes more important than training. If you rest well, you’ll have more energy to train and reach your goals.
Social media tip
Be personal and open-minded. Fans really feel the difference between your personal posts and the ones that are generated by PR agencies. Always stay true to yourself. Sharing your feelings straight after good or bad competitions are always the best.
Be honest to others and yourself. Don't chase people. Be an example. Attract them. Work hard and be yourself. The people who belong in your life will come and find you and stay. Just do your thing.