The British Virgin Islands NOC AC used the grant to offer key education and support to its athletes through online workshops.

The workshops featured Q&As with expert speakers, who offered insight on mental health and how athletes can build their brand.

Find out how you could benefit from the grants available for NOC ACs and how to apply by clicking here.

With the support of the Olympic Solidarity Activity Grant, the British Virgin Islands NOC AC provided virtual workshops and programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic that offered vital support to its athletes in their development on and off the sporting field.

The Commission selected two areas that it felt the grant could really support its athletes with: positive mental health training and information on how athletes can build their brand to create financial opportunities.

Each virtual workshop drew on the experience and knowledge of athlete and expert speakers and allowed participants to reach out with questions of their own to expand on what they had learned.

Mental health training

Recognising the importance of positive mental health skills and the impact COVID-19 will have had on athletes’ well-being, the Commission’s first virtual workshop offered expert mental training that could help to take the careers of its athletes to the next level and improve their well-being outside the sporting arena too.

Dr Margaret Ottley, who specialises in sports psychology and is a certified mental performance consultant, was joined by 2018 Commonwealth gold medallist Kyron McMaster in leading this workshop on mental health and performance: “The Mental Approach to On-field Success”.

British Virgin Islands AC Chair Ashley Kelly, the sprinter who represented her country at Rio 2016, explained how important the Commission members felt it was to use the funds received from the grant to create a programme that really highlighted how much they care for their athletes and the support available to them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created a major disruption in training, competition and in life. As a Commission, we found it vital to create a safe space for our athletes to focus on mental health and provide useful tools for mental training outside of sport,” said Ashley.

“This virtual workshop was the perfect way to kick off our programme and show our athletes that we care about them as individuals, not just as athletes.”

This virtual workshop was the perfect way to kick off our programme and show our athletes that we care about them as individuals, not just as athletes.

ASHLEY KELLY

Building your athletic brand

Social media is an excellent platform for building a fanbase and sharing your personal athlete journey, and the Commission’s second expert-led virtual workshop provided specialist information on how athletes can build on the opportunities presented by social media to generate revenue.

“To follow up on our successful mental training workshop, we wanted to continue to provide tools that the current generation of athletes could find immediately beneficial,” said Ashley.

“Athletes are documenting their lives daily on social media and it’s important they take advantage of this platform and carefully control their narrative to create leverage that could yield financial opportunities.”

For expert insight on building your brand, check out our Personal Brand Toolkit

The online workshop featured insight from PanAmerican Games medallists Chantel Malone and Priscilla Frederick-Loomis, and BVIOC Media Consultant Sofia Fay. Ashley added: “We wanted our athletes to hear from and connect with other athletes who they can relate to, so they can see that their ambitions really are possible.”

NOC Athletes’ Commissions can now apply to Olympic Solidarity for an annual grant worth up to USD 10,000, which could create new opportunities for you to support your athletes. To find out more, click here.