Over the last couple of seasons, long jumper Emiliano Lasa has almost single-handedly put Uruguay on the athletics map at global champs. The Pan American bronze medallist shares some of his top tips.

Championship tip

The most important thing is to be confident. Self-confidence is something I’ve always had and it is why over time I have continued to improve.

Psychological tip

Do not put a limit on yourself. I will never say I won’t be able to jump 8.70m. I’ll keep working, always believing and with that very positive attitude I will keep on improving.

Coaching tip

When I was younger I was a good jumper, but I never made world age-group championships. I was a late bloomer.

It would have been easy to have been demotivated by watching other athletes jump further, but my coach at the time always encouraged me that I could be better later. He taught me the long jump basics. I learned the skills of the event at my own pace and he promised me that good results will come later.

Technical tip

Try to be able to control as much speed as possible towards the end of the runway. That means, although over time I have improved my raw speed, I also worked on the control of that speed into the jump. I have improved the last part of the approach and I think this will help me reach another level.

I’m now more comfortable on the runway operating at a higher percentage of my maximum speed.

Emiliano Lasa competes in the 2015 Pan American Games (Getty Images)

Top tip for surviving the athletics circuit

I like to listen to music – lots of different types of music; electronic, guitar. I also like to drink the South American tea 'Mate' – which is popular in Uruguay. It helps me to relax.

Cooking tip

I like pasta with a Bolognese sauce. It is simple and quick.

Fashion tip

I prefer sportswear. I often wear these clothes.

Driving tip

I had a few bad experiences in Sao Paulo. The traffic is awful there, so I would say make sure you concentrate when driving.

Vacation tip

I would definitely recommend beach holidays. I like the Caribbean. I like not just to lie in the sun but to swim in the sea, play volleyball or football. I like to spend all day outdoors when I’m by the beach.

Social media tip

Whatever you post needs to be meaningful. I am on Facebook and Twitter but I’m most active on Instagram.

Dating tip

Make sure the location is right. So I would say watch a movie and then later go out to dinner.