A great training partner can inspire, challenge and motivate

Jen McIntosh is one of Scotland’s most successful sportswomen. Jennifer won a Silver in 3P and a Bronze in Rifle Prone at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Even breaking the record held by her mother, Shirley McIntosh! With father Donald on coaching duties, and sister Seonaid also a highly successful rifle shooter, we asked Jen about the benefits of a good training partner.

“If I had a pound for every time someone asked me what it was like training with my sister, I would be a very rich woman! It’s been an interesting experience with challenges and rewards that make it all worthwhile.

But the benefit doesn’t actually come from Seonaid (pronounced Shona by the way) being my sister. She’s another athlete who is of a similar standard to myself. Equally driven and motivated, on a similar competition schedule and highly competitive. All in all, an ideal training partner. I just happen to be related to her. It’s not necessarily something I would recommend when looking for the perfect training partner, but sometimes needs must!

A good training partner can be a powerful force in any athlete’s arsenal when it comes to progression. Every athlete is different, just as every person is unique. And surprisingly even sisters can have a vastly different perspective and solution to the same problem. Everyone has different knowledge and experience, and I highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to learn from another athlete takes it.

No offence to my coach, but I’ve learnt just as much from my various training partners over the years as I have from him. But more than that – at its heart, sport is about competition. Training with someone who is like-minded and capable of pushing you further helps your training environment mimic the competitive one.

In a time where athlete welfare is forefront of everyone’s mind, a good partner can also be a shoulder to lean on. A shared experience that helps you to not feel so alone. A voice of reason to help silence the doubts, because whether they’ll admit it or not, every athlete has experienced doubt at some point.

I’m very lucky to have Seonaid as my training partner. It’s had its challenges, but then sport is challenging. And I tell you what… standing on the podium in Baku with her in 2017 was pretty special!”