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Angie Bain: The secret sauce behind our elite sportspeople

Angie Bain: The secret sauce behind our elite sportspeople

Written by Lauren Mason Aug 03, 2021

Meet Angie Bain. Angie has been privy to the inner sanctum of some of the most famous locker rooms in Australia for over twenty-five years and she is not finished just yet. As a Player Development Manager and Wellbeing Manager for teams like the Australian Netball Diamonds, The Perth Scorchers, The West Coast Eagles, and the Fremantle Dockers she has had many wonderful experiences over the years. Over her career Angie has shared in intimate knowledge of players amongst senior coaching staff, well thought out tactical strategy, as well as the associated joys and dramas of professional sport. Alongside players she has harbored the storms when disappointment inevitably occurs and celebrated the incredible highs of winning on the national and world stage. Yet few of us outside of the sporting arena would know of this exceptionally talented woman who for so many was the secret sauce behind their success.

Angie Bain has dedicated much of her career to supporting Australia’s finest elite athletes. Officially she was known as a Player Development Manager, however off paper encompassed several other roles including trusted mentor and friend to many. Her fascination with what makes performers tick, combined with her own dedication to sports in her earlier years made her the perfect fit to manage the wellbeing and performance of athletes; and the job is a fascinating one.

A Player Development Manager ensures the athletes are given every opportunity to look after their personal, career and mental wellbeing to perform at an elite level in their chosen sport. This encompasses assisting athletes with their career identity, education development, life skills and wellbeing, in conjunction with their pursuit of becoming an elite athlete. The road to becoming a Player Development Manager wasn’t always smooth, however.

From an early age Angie knew that she wanted to be an athlete.

She had a typical Perth girl’s upbringing. Growing up in Scarborough, like several other local girls, she played netball every Saturday. Unlike many others however, she was fiercely competitive and talented. Angie was at the top of her game for several years, progressing to play for Western Australia and was an essential part of several premiership teams, until her world came crashing down. It all came to a head in year 12 when Angie was juggling her studies and pushing hard to make it to the very top of her netball career, when she realised she simply was not going to be good enough to make it.

“As an adolescent I was a perfectionist and a high achiever. When I was not good enough to go on any further, I experienced some mental health challenges of my own. I had always believed with enough hard work and persistence I would make it. For a little while there I had to work my way through having a dream for playing for Australia and losing that dream.”

What resulted for Angie following this difficult period was a much better understanding of herself, a whole lot more self-awareness and a curiosity for understanding athletes and what makes them perform to the standard that they do. So, she decided she would become a part of the elite sporting community, not as an elite athlete but through her work as a Career and Education Counsellor at the West Australian Institute for Sport, more commonly known as WAIS. Fast forward a few years down the track and Angie had worked as a High Performance Manager for Netball Victoria, a Career and Education Counsellor for WAIS and the Australian Institute of Sport and a Player Wellbeing Manager for a host of star studded professional organisations including the Australian Cricket Players Association, Netball Australia and the AFL Players Association. Although she had tremendous success in these roles, she started to have a niggling feeling that something was missing. With this came a career transition.

“As a High Performance Manager (HPM), I started to feel like I was purely an administrator which wasn’t as meaningful to me. What was important was to get involved with the athletes at those pivotal times that made an enormous difference to their performance, but just as importantly their overall wellbeing! My transition from HMP to Wellbeing Manager came from wanting to be more involved in the person not the program.”

For a change Angie was exposed to more of what she was fascinated with in the first place. What makes a player tick? In this role transition Angie was able to invest in her own education and completed post graduate studies in counselling and psychology. At the same time psychological wellbeing was starting to become more of a focus amongst clubs, even though the physical side of wellbeing far outweighed the mental side of things, something Angie feels was sorely misunderstood.

 “After my own experiences and then watching the struggles of many of the elite athletes I was working with I realised I could help other athletes get their ducks in a row. I focused on helping athletes develop an identity away from sport, helping them along their way to the path to self-actualization and teaching them how to cope with stress, something that wasn't well addressed in my early days. “

After starting to implement these simple mental health and wellbeing strategies Angie started to see incredible changes within the athletes she worked closely with. As part of her role Angie developed some remarkably close bonds with players under her charge.

“I’ve had players parents ring me because they were so worried about their children, trusting that I could be a support within the intensity of the elite sports environment. I have also had players invite me to their weddings. In moments like these I feel like I have made a real difference to not only their performance but their overall wellbeing as a person. That makes this job really worthwhile”

After many years within the sporting and high-performance bubble Angie has just recently started her own business Survive to Thrive Wellbeing. Survive to Thrive Wellbeing provides holistic wellbeing services for health and performance for people of all walks of life and uses a variety of treatment modalities including Existential Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Solutions Focused Therapy. Angie also delivers bespoke wellbeing programs to organisations.

“As a human being you cannot go through this life without having mental health challenges. The courage for people to show up where they are, actually sitting in front of you, and admit I’m not quite right is really brave. That’s why creating psychological safety is a really important part of what I provide to my clients.”

Angie has found the difference between the sporting world and the general health space vastly different. She experienced close communication between a team’s staff as the norm and good coordination of a player’s mental health and physical wellbeing the minimum standard.  It was only upon her exit from working exclusively with athletes and sporting teams that she realised the health sector was quite dissimilar.

“Like a well-oiled machine in elite sporting clubs everyone worked together towards one common goal; to produce a winning team. Clients are not held accountable like a sporting team that has constant contact with a host of coaches and other staff. The consistency of therapy and continuity of care is vastly diminished. If I need to refer clients to additional support, I find often this is mismanaged if the client is trying to do this themselves.”

Following this realisation Angie began to search for an alternative solution. Was there a way of connecting people to the support they needed to navigate the healthcare system which is well known for its complexities? That is when Angie came across Oqea. As Angie sees it Oqea is the one stop platform where everyone including the client and their support network can talk to each other and get on the same page.

“My experience as a wellbeing practitioner over many years made me realise that it takes a collaborative approach to help people in the mental health space. I am a big believer that the sum of all parts will make a difference. One person is not the solution in many cases in my experience, it takes a team of people to help develop meaningful change.”

To learn more about Angie's new offering visit her website www.survivetothrivewellbeing.com.au

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Angie Bain: The secret sauce behind our elite sportspeople

Meet Angie Bain. Angie has been privy to the inner sanctum of some of the most famous locker rooms in Australia for over twenty-five years and she is not finished just yet. As a Player Development Manager and Wellbeing Manager for teams like the Australian Netball Diamonds, The Perth Scorchers, The West Coast Eagles, and the Fremantle Dockers she has had many wonderful experiences over the years. Over her career Angie has shared in intimate knowledge of players amongst senior coaching staff, well thought out tactical strategy, as well as the associated joys and dramas of professional sport. Alongside players she has harbored the storms when disappointment inevitably occurs and celebrated the incredible highs of winning on the national and world stage. Yet few of us outside of the sporting arena would know of this exceptionally talented woman who for so many was the secret sauce behind their success.

Angie Bain has dedicated much of her career to supporting Australia’s finest elite athletes. Officially she was known as a Player Development Manager, however off paper encompassed several other roles including trusted mentor and friend to many. Her fascination with what makes performers tick, combined with her own dedication to sports in her earlier years made her the perfect fit to manage the wellbeing and performance of athletes; and the job is a fascinating one.

A Player Development Manager ensures the athletes are given every opportunity to look after their personal, career and mental wellbeing to perform at an elite level in their chosen sport. This encompasses assisting athletes with their career identity, education development, life skills and wellbeing, in conjunction with their pursuit of becoming an elite athlete. The road to becoming a Player Development Manager wasn’t always smooth, however.

From an early age Angie knew that she wanted to be an athlete.

She had a typical Perth girl’s upbringing. Growing up in Scarborough, like several other local girls, she played netball every Saturday. Unlike many others however, she was fiercely competitive and talented. Angie was at the top of her game for several years, progressing to play for Western Australia and was an essential part of several premiership teams, until her world came crashing down. It all came to a head in year 12 when Angie was juggling her studies and pushing hard to make it to the very top of her netball career, when she realised she simply was not going to be good enough to make it.

“As an adolescent I was a perfectionist and a high achiever. When I was not good enough to go on any further, I experienced some mental health challenges of my own. I had always believed with enough hard work and persistence I would make it. For a little while there I had to work my way through having a dream for playing for Australia and losing that dream.”

What resulted for Angie following this difficult period was a much better understanding of herself, a whole lot more self-awareness and a curiosity for understanding athletes and what makes them perform to the standard that they do. So, she decided she would become a part of the elite sporting community, not as an elite athlete but through her work as a Career and Education Counsellor at the West Australian Institute for Sport, more commonly known as WAIS. Fast forward a few years down the track and Angie had worked as a High Performance Manager for Netball Victoria, a Career and Education Counsellor for WAIS and the Australian Institute of Sport and a Player Wellbeing Manager for a host of star studded professional organisations including the Australian Cricket Players Association, Netball Australia and the AFL Players Association. Although she had tremendous success in these roles, she started to have a niggling feeling that something was missing. With this came a career transition.

“As a High Performance Manager (HPM), I started to feel like I was purely an administrator which wasn’t as meaningful to me. What was important was to get involved with the athletes at those pivotal times that made an enormous difference to their performance, but just as importantly their overall wellbeing! My transition from HMP to Wellbeing Manager came from wanting to be more involved in the person not the program.”

For a change Angie was exposed to more of what she was fascinated with in the first place. What makes a player tick? In this role transition Angie was able to invest in her own education and completed post graduate studies in counselling and psychology. At the same time psychological wellbeing was starting to become more of a focus amongst clubs, even though the physical side of wellbeing far outweighed the mental side of things, something Angie feels was sorely misunderstood.

 “After my own experiences and then watching the struggles of many of the elite athletes I was working with I realised I could help other athletes get their ducks in a row. I focused on helping athletes develop an identity away from sport, helping them along their way to the path to self-actualization and teaching them how to cope with stress, something that wasn't well addressed in my early days. “

After starting to implement these simple mental health and wellbeing strategies Angie started to see incredible changes within the athletes she worked closely with. As part of her role Angie developed some remarkably close bonds with players under her charge.

“I’ve had players parents ring me because they were so worried about their children, trusting that I could be a support within the intensity of the elite sports environment. I have also had players invite me to their weddings. In moments like these I feel like I have made a real difference to not only their performance but their overall wellbeing as a person. That makes this job really worthwhile”

After many years within the sporting and high-performance bubble Angie has just recently started her own business Survive to Thrive Wellbeing. Survive to Thrive Wellbeing provides holistic wellbeing services for health and performance for people of all walks of life and uses a variety of treatment modalities including Existential Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Solutions Focused Therapy. Angie also delivers bespoke wellbeing programs to organisations.

“As a human being you cannot go through this life without having mental health challenges. The courage for people to show up where they are, actually sitting in front of you, and admit I’m not quite right is really brave. That’s why creating psychological safety is a really important part of what I provide to my clients.”

Angie has found the difference between the sporting world and the general health space vastly different. She experienced close communication between a team’s staff as the norm and good coordination of a player’s mental health and physical wellbeing the minimum standard.  It was only upon her exit from working exclusively with athletes and sporting teams that she realised the health sector was quite dissimilar.

“Like a well-oiled machine in elite sporting clubs everyone worked together towards one common goal; to produce a winning team. Clients are not held accountable like a sporting team that has constant contact with a host of coaches and other staff. The consistency of therapy and continuity of care is vastly diminished. If I need to refer clients to additional support, I find often this is mismanaged if the client is trying to do this themselves.”

Following this realisation Angie began to search for an alternative solution. Was there a way of connecting people to the support they needed to navigate the healthcare system which is well known for its complexities? That is when Angie came across Oqea. As Angie sees it Oqea is the one stop platform where everyone including the client and their support network can talk to each other and get on the same page.

“My experience as a wellbeing practitioner over many years made me realise that it takes a collaborative approach to help people in the mental health space. I am a big believer that the sum of all parts will make a difference. One person is not the solution in many cases in my experience, it takes a team of people to help develop meaningful change.”

To learn more about Angie's new offering visit her website www.survivetothrivewellbeing.com.au