FROM SUN AND SEA TO SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY

By Tay Yu Shan

FROM SUN AND SEA TO SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY –The Nicholas De Cruz Story

Background

Profile: Nicholas Paul de Cruz

Sport: Sailing

History: National Team 2003 – 2011

 

Photo credit: Nicholas de Cruz

 

You might have seen him in the news many years back. Afterall, he became a world champion 16. 8 years on, currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Psychology with the intent to major in Sports Psychology, former national sailor Nicholas de Cruz has no desire to leave the sporting arena just yet.

 

In July 2014, Nicholas graduated with a degree in sports science at the renowned School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in Loughborough University, UK. Prior to that, he had obtained a Diploma in Exercise Science and Sports Management through the Singapore Sport School’s Foreign University Through-Train Pathway with the Auckland University of Technology.

 

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Photo credit: Nicholas de Cruz

 

World Champion & His Rise To The Top

Having entered the national sailing team at the tender age of 14, Nicholas took just 2 years to become world champion at the Arch Byte CII World Championship in 2006. Held in Bermuda, Nicholas regards this as the highlight of his sailing career.  Despite facing a much older and more experienced opponent in Malcolm Smith, one of Bermuda’s best sailors, Nicholas emerged victorious to claim the title. Coincidentally, it was also the first time he had won a competition as he had always been ranked among the top 5 locally but was never at the top.

 

He credits this victory to his coaches, who were instrumental in giving him the proper fitness training as well as motivation. Nicholas also emphasized the importance of putting up a consistent performance, as winning one or two races was not sufficient for a regatta that spanned 5 days and 18 races. Instead, doing well consistently for a majority of the races was what enabled him to win the competition.

 

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In order to attain the form that enabled him to maintain his edge over his competitors, Nicholas trained up to 5 times a week. Without the support of his parents, he would not have been able to shuttle between his school in Woodlands to the National Sailing Centre at East Coast Park and the gym at Kallang. They also encouraged him to start sailing at primary 5, when he was 11 years old.

 

A sport that is highly dependent on the weather, his training often turned on the conditions out at sea. However, it is this feeling of being ‘out at sea’ which Nicholas enjoys most. Apart from the social aspect of being around his teammates, it is the fact that sailing is such a big part of his identity that Nicholas is able to draw his greatest motivation from.

 

 

Why A Sports Psychologist

 

Nicholas maintains that it was not his victory which led him to eventually decide on his current career path. Neither was his desire to impart his knowledge and expertise in sailing instrumental in this decision, although he did take up coaching at 18 years old after obtaining the necessary qualifications. Instead, it was only much later in the midst of pursuing his undergraduate degree/writing his undergraduate thesis that he came to realise that this is an aspect of sports that interests him greatly.

 

To Nicholas, achieving success in sports is not only about the right training regiment, but also proper diet, nutrition as well as psychology. However, there are few sports psychologists in Singapore, and he believes that this is one area that has much potential for growth. He believes that being a former national athlete also gives him an advantage as he has his experience in competitive sailing to draw on.

 

After completing his training to be a sport psychologist in London where he is currently based, Nicholas hopes to return to Singapore and to continue to contribute to the sport.

 

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Photo credit: Nicholas de Cruz

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