“Sport is like life in a compressed form” – Interview with Unpossible.me

This week, we are excited to share an interview with Pek Ya, the founder and Head Coach of unpossible.me, a company of passionate coaches who seek to bring out holistic and personal development in their training. Regardless of your age, background, or physicial limitations, the people at unpossible.me believe in pushing you to achieve the Unpossible. What does that mean? Read on to find out more

Pek Yah
Credit: http://unpossible.me/us/
  1. What is the meaning of “unpossible”? 

Doing more than the impossible! If you think that running 5km is impossible now, I challenge you to think of running 10km in future.

  1. In your opinion, how can we develop the mindset to achieve the “unpossible”?
    – Open up your mind to dream
    – Look at the ways you can achieve it
    – Breakdown the task.

If you can’t dream of running 10km, then start by changing your goal to finishing 10km first. You can walk it, then walk and jog the distance, and then try jogging the distance before you ultimately run it.

Of course, ask yourself the question: Why do I think I cannot do it?

What resources you do not have or are yet to have. Maybe you can do it by achieving a simpler goal with other resources first.

For example, if I cannot run is because I suffer from knee pain, then I can challenge myself by walking or cycling for a longer distance. Alternatively, you could break the entire distance into 4 parts, and finish it in 4 stages with breaks in between instead of all in one go. If you want to be doctor as an adult but are too old to get into medical school, then you can consider taking TCM so that you can still be a doctor, but one of Chinese medicine.

We must open our mind to possibilities, not excuses.

  1. Share with us about your background and your training in the field of sports

I was sickly as a child as I was born premature, but I did swimming and martial arts since I was young and played a lot of sports like badminton and soccer before the age of 12. I only got more serious in sports in secondary school with badmination, which I played till university before I switched gears to focus on triathlon.

Partially, it was because triathlon and endurance sports were the sports that gave recognition to those who participated and finished, rather than just those who won. The reality was that I was benched as a reserve and didn’t get to play when I was younger, and I wanted to find sport where I could surely get to ‘play’. Endurance sport allowed anyone to take part.

  1. How do you use sports to reach out to and inspire the youth? 

I see it as an activity that one can engage in for fun!

Sport talks to us through a vocabulary of fun and joy, but also contains elements of discipline and hard work. It is a medium that is non-threatening and comprehensive that will break age or cultural barriers.

I think ‘playing’ hard and ‘playing’ well shows authenticity and shows the youth that we are the same… and at the same time, while our goals may be similar, we can be different in our attitude and approach. Reaching out through sports is my preferred way of touching base.

Inspiring the youth in what sense? Most young people are inspired by results, if I am still performing long after my ‘productive’ years, I may be an inspiration for them to push on to juggle life’s many demands.

But, I am not a professional athlete. I can only inspire them to keep playing sports, to keep loving life.

  1. So, how do you think can participating in sports help in one’s life? 

Sports is unlike anything else – when you are that fast, you really are that fast. And, if you are slow, there can be no excuses. There are only so many excuses you can have. Timing, natural talent, it all adds up.

In that sense, sport is like life in a compressed form; winning, losing, bouncing back from injury and set back. If you can handle sports well, you can handle life’s setbacks better.

  1. What is your own personal goal & dream for Unpossible fitness? 

To enable others to achieve their UNpossible dream! Everyone has their own ‘more-than-impossible’ dream. For me, it is to race hard in 2016, enjoy the training and the race, and hopefully break 6 hours for my 70.3 triathlon. For others, it could be to do run their first mom race, and for others it could be to walk 30 minutes pain-free. And for some of my clients, it could be just to kick the soccer ball on their non-dominant leg.

Unpossible wants to enable, and journey with you towards your Unpossible Dream.

  1. How can sports training benefit those with special needs or are differently-abled? 

It can build self esteem, independence, and open up the world for them. A lot is in their head, and that is not just for the disabled or people with special needs.

If you believe you can, you will try – even if you can’t get as far as the rest of the world, you have gotten somewhere further than where you started. My visually handicapped friends whom I have had the privilege to cycle and race with, have brought me into their world. I wouldn’t have known their experience otherwise, and I am sure it is the same for them.

I have a student with special needs who has difficulty controlling his non-dominant limbs and balance. After he learnt how to cycle and kick the soccer ball, he became more open to try even drumming. He also made friends through kicking the ball around even though he’s not ‘good’ at it. One of my other students who has ADHD was able to focus and swim 12m when I first met her. After 1 year, she could swim 20x25m. Her teacher has said that she has shown more focus in class. So, yes, I think sports training helps.

For my post stroke client, who is now able to cycle again, cycling as a sport has allowed him to have a greater sense of normality and well-being like he was before he had the stroke.

  1. Share with us your hopes for the future youth in Singapore.

I hope the youth of the future will be compassionate to the needy, old and weak. I hope they have a strong desire to learn beyond their textbooks and for life. Don’t be afraid to fail, seek wisdom and not just knowledge, and learn to have fun in all things. I hope to see less of people saying that they work for the weekends!

Find out more about unpossible.me here.

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