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Health: Body, Mind & Heart

We asked Fast and Female Ambassador and Team Canada Squash player Samatha Cornett to go back on her 2019 PanAm Game experience and let us in on her secret to success. 

Samantha Cornett, 2019 PanAm Games, Peru

“The Pan Am Games. An event that is one of the biggest multi sport events this squash player can take part in. Squash players at the Games compete in an individual event, a doubles event, and a team event. So there is the potential for players to come away with 3 medals.

At this event, I am first and foremost excited to be here. To be in the thrill of the competition, amongst so many athletes fighting their hearts out. A moment in your life that only a select few get to experience. This is what training has been for. As for results, I’m alright with reaching my seeding in each event. I’ll be much more excited if I could one up it, or more. I definitely want to perform for my team and country. The Team Canada buzz is a great vibe in the village, with everyone supporting each other. But not only Team Canada. Whenever someone of any country walks into the huge food hall with a medal, the entire place, full of so many nations, slowly erupts in clapping, cheering, hollering.

Photo credit: Steve Cubbins

The magnitude of meaning of these Games to me and the importance and emphasis on the medals can be very tricky to manage when on the court. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the result of my match before my opponent and I have even stepped on court. I know the result I want, of course. But that result is a by-product of so many things that have happened before this day. And a result of so many small decisions I will make during each match. These are the things I can control. These are the things that I can adjust and put in place, as best I can. I am not perfect at managing this, by any means. I can lose my brain and get flustered over something: being down in the score, a call by the ref I disagree with. Whether I realize it in the moment, or after the fact, I always work to come back to focus on what I can control. This is the same message I’ve heard from countless sports people and sports psychologists: focus on the controllables. This is not just a sports thing. This is a life skill. And I’ve learned a lot about it, so far. For which I’m very grateful. This approach of focusing on my preparation before (hours, days, months, years) and my attention during my matches, and letting the rest just be, has been the key to the best matches I’ve played. I believe it lets my mind perform at its best, my body feel the best it can, and gives my heart peace. What a great state to be in to compete. Now to recreate that as often as possible!”

Samantha Cornett – 3 x PanAm Games Medallist, Peru 2019 & multiple Canadian Squash Champion