Rio is mind over matter for Fylde coast Max

Pole vaulter Max Eaves in action
Pole vaulter Max Eaves in action
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A Fylde coast international pole vaulter is hoping that mind over matter can help him raise the bar to achieve his Olympics dream.

Max Eaves, 27, has teamed up with Lytham-based specialist performance and mind coach Wayne Howard to boost his performance to qualify for this summer’s Rio games.

Pole vaulter Max Eaves in his day job as a sports massage expert.

Pole vaulter Max Eaves in his day job as a sports massage expert.

And Max, who gets no funding for his athletics training, has launched his own sports therapy business too in a bid to fund his trip to Brazil.

Weeton-based Max began pole vaulting at the age of 13 at Stanley Park. He then went off to Loughborough to study sports science and use its world class facilities.

He qualified as a Level 3 Sports Massage Therapist and has recently set up FlexiMax Sports –Performance Clinic which operates out of the Spa on the Breck and Lytham Golf Academy.

Max won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi 2010, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze at various British Championships and representing GB at the European Championships 2012 and England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Max’s personal best height stands at 5m 62 (18 feet 5 inches) and by June he must beat the IAAF qualification standard of 5m 70cm to qualify for the Olympics.

He said: “For the last few months Wayne has helped me construct a whole new suite of exceptional mental processes that are now proving priceless during my practice pole vault training sessions, at home in my recovery time, and most recently in the competition environment.

“I am now so much more consistent with my technical elements because Wayne has helped me create a far more solid mental platform, which gets stronger and stronger each time I go through my physical and mental routines. It is already proving priceless.

“I won my first competition in Manchester with 5.50m with some close attempts at a personal best – there is no better way to start my assault on the 2016 season.”

Wayne Howard, who runs Inspiring Excellence which works with all sorts of businesses and individuals, said: “Max has bowled me over with his determination to secure his Olympic qualification.

“As a Team GB athlete and Commonwealth Games medalist Max has proven he has what it takes both physically and technically to compete at the world’s best sporting event. It is superb to be working with an elite athlete who has to include the physical attributes of a sprinter, jumper and a gymnast with the mental challenges of combining all three within 8 or so seconds of competition.

“I have successfully coached professional athletes and managers and coaches within football, rugby union, rowing and golf.

“The fact is, whatever the sport, a vital component of success is when an athlete can control and strengthen their thinking habits during training, preparing for competition, when actually competing, and then reviewing their performance.

Much of the skill is learning how to harness the memory and the imagination to be confident, have great self-belief, and be in the best emotional state when competing.”

Max added: “It is difficult for professional field athletes to attract anywhere near the level of sponsorship that track athletes have the potential to secure.

“As well as supporting myself through my sports massage therapy services, I have also set up a crowdfunding page through Pledge Sports to help me raise funds for new poles which cost £600 each.

“I was so grateful for the opportunity to bring sports massage to the Spa. I’ve recently moved back to the area and because of this new connection I have a regular client base.”

Kerry McGrath, manager of Spa on the Breck said: “When Max approached us we had no idea of his personal accomplishments and his dream to reach Rio! It’s very exciting for us all.”