Starlet Anna champions healthy mindset during Mental Health Awareness Week

She’s just at the beginning of her squash career but rising talent Anna Halliday already knows the importance of maintaining a healthy mindset.

Under normal circumstances, the 14-year-old can be seen on the squash courts at Bridge of Allan Sports Club (BoA) competing or training at least six days a week.

She’s been training under the tutelage of former world top ten player Jane Martin at BoA for nearly two years now.

In that time Anna has started to work on developing a positive and healthy mindset both on and off court.

Speaking during Mental Health Awareness week (May 18-24), she said: “Over the last year that’s something I’ve really looked to work on.

“Sometimes I get into a negative frame of mind on the court and forget to concentrate on my game plan.

“Now I try to think more positively because mindset is as important as the physical and technical side of squash.

“I’ve started talking to my coach about all these things and I’m definitely improving.”

She continued: “When I lose a match now I start to think of it in a positive way.

“Rather than reflect on the loss and getting down on myself, I think about what I need to work on to be even better next time.

“I follow Allistair McCaw on Twitter who is a well-known mindset coach and I find what he talks about very interesting. Mental health away from squash and maintaining a positive mindset is so important.”

Anna has been keeping her mind healthy and active during lockdown, staying in touch with friends via Facetime, taking part in online fitness sessions and keeping up with her school work through Google Classroom.

The Crieff High School pupil enjoyed an encouraging squash season before it came to a premature end.

She was GU15 runner-up at the Scottish Junior Championships and Irish Junior Open, finished third at the Welsh Junior Open and fifth at the British Junior Championships.

Her last competitive outing was in March at the German Junior Open where she finished 10th.

The Scottish Squash Girls Academy player said: “I was most proud of my performance at the British Junior Championships because I played very well and lost to the eventual winner Asia Harris.

“I recently picked up a hamstring injury which impacted my performance in Hamburg but I’ve used this time away from court to build my muscle back up and it’s much better now.

“It’s a shame I haven’t been able to play in more European events this season because I love experiencing different cultures and competing against different styles of opponent.

“I’m obviously really keen to get back on court again but overall I’ve been coping well mentally during lockdown which is very important for everyone.”

She added: “Next season my overall goal is to win the Scottish U17 title and continue to represent Scotland at international events.

“We have some really good players in my age group like Rowan (Niven) and Robyn (Mcalpine).

“We all push each other on to get better and it will be great when we can play together as a team for Scotland.”

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is a chance for the UK to focus on mental health.

This year’s theme is kindness in a response to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having a big impact on people’s mental health.

It’s important for all of us to maintain and keep a close eye on our mental health.

sportscotland has published details providing guidance and tips on looking after your wellbeing. Click here.

When it comes to the way we feel emotionally, it can be hard to recognise or admit that we’re not feeling good.

SAMH – Scotland’s national mental health charity – has a useful wellbeing assessment tool to help you monitor your feelings. Click here.