Wests Tigers rugby league star Benji Marshall was a special guest presenter to the NSW Institute of Sport’s Diving Program recently.
Streaming from isolation, the legendary five-eighth donated his time to sharing his career experiences and providing words of advice to the divers, who have continued adaptive training programs with the Institute’s experts during the current pandemic.
“I love being able to share all the things that I’ve learned over my career,” said Marshall.
“When I was coming through, I was lucky enough to have some older athletes share their experiences with me and a lot of that really stuck with me throughout my career, and has helped me achieve at the level that I have.
“If I can maybe influence one or two of the kids on the line to learn something off me and help them be the best versions of themselves, then that’s enough for me.”
The 35-year-old also spoke glowingly about NSWIS Diving Head Coach, Chava Sobrino, who provided core stability training to the Tigers for three seasons.
“It was great to work with Chava, I think he revolutionised the way that we train,” he said.
“When you think about the game of rugby league, everything we do revolves around having a strong base and a strong core, and what Chava brought to us was something that we’d never see before, and was a breath of fresh air.”
Sobrino has enlisted the help of a number of high profile sportspeople to talk to the Institute’s divers, including Olympic gold medallist Jack Laugher of Great Britain.
“[It’s] not only to motivate and inspire our athletes but the fact that they are able to listen to important personalities who are in the same situations and are having the same problems as they are,” he stated.
Olivia O’Rourke, one of Australia’s up and coming young divers, detailed how the speakers were helping her and the program’s athletes.
“It was really good to gain knowledge into how [Benji] trains and what motivates him, especially during this time,” she said.
“It’s so much harder training by yourself so I think it’s important getting insight into what they do, the goal-setting, pushing yourself and [understanding that] the little things do make a big difference.”
Despite the pause in the program’s normal training operations, the Institute’s divers continue to work remotely with NSWIS coaches and support staff. A FINA Grand Prix medallist, O’Rourke was looking forward to an eventual return to the pool.
“Not being in the water makes you miss it a lot more. [However] the motivation of the coaches to keep pushing in the gym and the new exercises we have to do just really gets you going.”