Last year was a big one in the fledgling career of Rotorua canoe slalom paddler George Snook. Sports reporter David Beck spoke to him about how it went and what comes next.
Focus on the process rather than the potential outcome.
That is one of the biggest lessons 16-year-old George Snook learned in 2019.
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The highlight of the year was competing at the Junior World Championships in Krakow, Poland although the event did not quite go to plan as George failed to advance past the quarterfinals.
It is part and parcel of a sport in which results are often decided by milliseconds but he says it was a valuable learning experience regardless.
"I had a good year, learned heaps and had a lot of fun. The racing didn't quite go to plan but I got some pretty valuable experience going into the next year's events so I'm stoked with that.
"Both my runs were okay but I was a bit tight on some of the gates which left it in the hands of the judges who gave me penalties and that knocked me out of any sort of ranking.
"I definitely learned not to give the judges that opportunity and just make sure I'm completely through the gate."
In the next month, George will compete in selection events for the New Zealand junior and senior teams. He hopes to go to the Junior World Championships again and put what he has learned into practice.
"I came back and I've been training probably the best I've ever trained for these selections, I'm feeling pretty good. Previously, if I did bad at an event I just paddled harder but this time I've been trying to grow and get better at the mental aspects so I'm more rounded.
"I've been working with a sports psychologist and he has taught me some pretty valuable things which I've been putting into practice in the last few months.
"I'll go to selections and perform my best. If I perform to the best of my abilities then that's a win - if I end up in the senior team or wherever, I'm happy but that's just a byproduct. If I can put down the run I've been training for I'll be stoked."
As part of his newly developed thought processes, he has changed his focus at the start of a race.
"I've worked on that a lot. When I first started paddling I'd just go to races for fun and when I was on the start line I'd be looking forward to racing. As I got older, I kept thinking about trying to win which isn't very helpful on the start line.
"Now, I just try to clear my mind, be calm and be 100 per cent focused in the moment. I try to focus on the process of how I'm going to do it, rather than the outcome of winning. If I get the process right then I've won for me, performing how I plan to is a win for me."
George grew up at Okere Falls and was in a canoe with his dad before his first birthday. That is where his love for the sport began and now he is fully appreciative of the fact it has allowed him to travel the world, doing what he loves.
"It's pretty crazy to be able to travel to Europe the last couple of years while I'm still doing school. It's pretty amazing. This year was my first year of NCEA Level 1 so I had to do a bit of catch up when I got back but I think I'll be all right, exam results are out soon."