If you haven’t heard about The Velo Precinct, well then you should have read our story (see it here). We were lucky enough to experience the hospitality at Stuart O’Grady’s (yes, that famous cyclist) newest venture, in Victoria Park.
It was all to celebrate the launch of the Next Level Elite Athlete Mentoring Program. The Elite Athlete program is tailored for elite athletes. And when we say elite, we mean elite. Each candidate in the program has to be playing at a State or National level to qualify. Next Level Elite is the baby of Stewart McCully, a former elite athlete himself. He has been evolving his ideas for the last 15 years and he has developed his program centred around athlete welfare and mentoring and supporting successful athletes to improve in areas they may not have considered they need to know about. He is filling the gap between their professional training and long-term life goals.
Athletes are often at the top of their game but there is a hidden emotional intensity as they deal with the limelight, pressure, loneliness, media attention, fear of failure and financial strain from travelling for their sport. This program links different athletes from different individual and team sports and provides the opportunity for them to learn from each other, whilst also giving them access to the best in the business there to support them on their journey to further success.
The eight week program covers 11 topics and guest lecturers include TV personality Lisa McAskill giving tips on public speaking, Gab Leonello from Little Lion PR teaching athletes about the importance of self promotion and building their brand for sponsorship proposals, Andrew Capel from The Advertiser about how to handle the media and cycling champion Stuart O’Grady giving his perspective as a leader in his chosen sport and the impact that has on other facets of a sportsperson’s life.
We also celebrated the graduates from the inaugural pilot program that was run this year and the list of graduates from a range of sports and from all over SA were impressive. In fact we think we might see a few of their names popping up at future Olympics and worldwide championships. The graduates spoke of the many highlights and benefits they received from the program, which included networking, media and sponsorship opportunities.
Businesses and individuals can sponsor a group of athletes going through the program and through doing this, they align themselves with future champions and get the same learning opportunities the athletes do through the Next Level Elite Athlete program. They also get the inside scoop into the sports they are supporting. The key value the program is based on is giving back to others and this goes both ways between the athletes and sponsors.
There are five programs scheduled for 2016 but only ten positions are available in each for elite athletes and with the sporting royalty we saw involved last night, it is sure to book out fast!