As we work hard to build a rounded, diverse and experienced counsel of contributors to bring you timely and relevant insights, we are honoured to introduce you to our newest member of The Y Council; Henry Weir.
My name is Henry Weir. I am a new father (pandemic baby) and an Olympic hockey player. I was born and raised in Croydon for the first decade of my life before moving to the green pastures of Cheshire. At eighteen, I went to Loughborough University. I graduated in 2013 with a degree in Sports Science. Now I live in London full time.
Please tell us about your passion, initiative or career?
Sports was always my passion growing up. I loved to compete. I had to try every sport. I was lucky enough to have parents who supported me by getting me to practices for different sports to ensuring I made it to competitions around the country. My dad played hockey. Some of my fondest memories are being on the road with him to and from hockey matches which no doubt strengthen and emotional bond to the sport. As well as the family link, the team camaraderie I got from hockey was precious to me. It filled a void that other individual sports couldn't.
Please talk about your journey in or to your passion, initiative or career?
My hockey journey has always been a climb. I would get into a team, start at the bottom, climb to the top, then move up to a better team. I've always thrived as an underdog with a point to prove. I never felt like a particularly talented player. I’ve had huge confidence setbacks throughout my career but I’ve always felt that I could out-work and out-fight most opponents to get ahead. So, I climbed mainly through pushing through those mental setbacks, working harder and learning faster than others.
What have been the highlights so far?
Becoming an Olympian was a huge highlight. A dream. In reality, two weeks in Rio changed me. Whilst it was, without doubt, my greatest highlight and achievement, my feelings towards our performance out there were mostly negative. It took me a long time to recover. It’s a confusing juxtaposition to achieve one of your biggest goals but feel you’ve not been able to fulfil your expectation of yourself. Beyond the Olympics, medals at two Commonwealth Games and the European Championships were pure joy and elation. These were important moments in my career and a big part of the reason I play.
What are your next steps, goals or ambitions?
With sport, it’s very hard to make long term goals that extend past the next competition. You have short term goals that you go after every day in order to improve. At the moment, I want to be a great and supportive Dad while becoming the best hockey player I’ve been. If I can do those things then I'll be happy. Olympic success would be a by-product of those achievements.
What does mental health mean to you and where do you think this stemmed from?
My parents both work in mental health so I’ve always been fairly well informed and aware of it. In my training environment, I see every day how both positive and negative mental states can affect decision making, performance, mood and group atmosphere. I’ve struggled with very low and destructive moods for long periods at times, as well as feeling unable to cope with stress. I feel fortunate enough to be well supported and equipped enough to remain mentally healthy but like anyone have struggled and been tested.
If you have one piece of advice for your fellow man, what would it be?
When times get hard, talk to someone and ask for help. I found it incredibly hard to admit when I needed help or to be honest and vulnerable about the way I was feeling. I only began to feel better when I had the bravery to ask and accept the help that is available.
Watch this space for future articles from Henry.