A MINDSET FOR WINNING

BRYANT HSIAO | OCT 19, 2017

RYU recently invited Aaron Lattimer, member of Team Canada Rowing that just competed in the World Rowing Championships in Florida, to the RYU Flagship store to discuss his winning mindset.

Prior to the World’s, Aaron competed for Team Canada U23 in Europe with his partner in the Lightweight Doubles. They displayed one of the best performances Team Canada has ever achieved in this division, finishing only 0.2 second short from a podium finish. It put Team Canada on the map for a world ranking.

Last month in the World’s was his first time rowing on the men’s national team. Aaron is only 21 years of age, being the second youngest rower on the team and in the Lightweight singles field in the competition. He is currently ranked 14th in the world in this division, and is developing a winning mindset in order to take himself to the very top.

RYU: What was the most valuable experience you took away from the World’s and the training leading up to it?

Aaron: I think as a young rower, you can’t be so fixated on the outcome. I was already thinking I belong in the top 12. It was the wrong mindset. It should’ve been more processed oriented. Instead, I should’ve taken it step by step. First go through the heat, then go through the quarter final, then the semi final, and keep building on each race in order to get to the qualifying spot. My winning mindset was so fixated on the competition instead of how I attack each day, in terms of resting and recovering, being ready to tackle the next race. Being a young guy at the field was all experience for me. You learn a lot of respect for the guys who’ve competed for many years who’ve climbed the world ranks in rowing. I also learned from teamwork that everyone is fixated at reaching the same goal. I learned from my teammates the philosophy of training at “X” condition in order to race at “X” level at the World stage. In other words, I learned that I needed to train at a certain stimulus- at the absolute best of my ability so that it becomes normal during the race. I learned a lot that month about developing a winning mindset and the true mindset of a champion.

Part of the reason RYU is interested in knowing you and hearing about your story is the fact that Rowing is not considered a conventional, mainstream sport in Canada. But as our name suggests, we stand for RESPECT. We respect and acknowledge athletes of all levels and abilities. We truly believe in human potential. Meaning, if you have a passion for something and if you choose to work hard for it, we will strive to facilitate your performance, empower and lead you to become the best you can. With a winning mindset you WILL achieve your glory moment.

Did you feel that way when you were selected to the Men’s National team at such a young age?

The unique thing about rowing like you mentioned is not a conventional sport. You don’t see it on TV, the rowers don’t wear numbers on their jerseys. You don’t have the fan base as you do for a football, hockey or basketball team. When I was at a young age, I participated in soccer and baseball just like all the other kids. I didn’t start rowing until I was in 8th grade.

When you mentioned RESPECT and ACKNOWLEDGMENT, it resonates with me. I currently train with teammates who row in the heavyweight division. These guys are 6 foot 6, 6 foot 8, 230, 240 pounds. These guys treat me like a little brother. They recognize my potential as a young athlete, so they’re constantly teaching me the proper training routine and the importance of hard work. They raise the bar, and help me develop a winning mindset. Most importantly, they empower me and believe that I can succeed in the division I compete in.

What does Respect Your Universe mean to you?

It’s about showing RESPECT to everyone that’s helped you along the way. It’s about gaining RESPECT from my teammates by working hard. It’s about showing RESPECT to my teammates for uplifting and empowering me. It’s also about everyone else behind the scenes that made it happen for you: the coaching staff, our team trainer and therapist. Our friends and family contributed to our success as well by constantly supporting us. One of the neatest things I experienced from the World’s was to sit with the people that were cheering for me, after my race.

Last, but not least, it’s about RESPECT to my opponents. We’re all racing for the same goal, but ultimately, there’s only one winner. No matter the outcome, you have to show sportsmanship and RESPECT to your opponents because they are the reason you’ve pushed yourself so hard to become the person you are today.

I’ve been able to translate the same experience and culture to up and coming young rowers. After coming back from World’s, I’ve had high-schoolers reach out to be through my social media asking about my experience and for advice. It’s a real rewarding feeling knowing that kids are looking up to me. I’m a little star gazed. I’m absolutely honored by it and I’m trying my best to mentor these kids and guide them to the path of success.

How has the whole rowing experience helped you become a better person and leader in life?

I think with rowing, it builds character. You learn the importance of grit and hard work, but it’s also about time management. You have to manage your time wisely to balance athletics, school, and social life. You have to get up at 6am for training and have the energy to pay attention in class and get assignments done later on the day. Since I’ve had a few years of this student athlete experience, the newest members of the team look up to me as a leader. I often speak to them regarding the importance of maintaining a balance with rowing and school. Social life cannot be forgotten either.

I guess you’ve already touched on leadership in terms of teaching those kids in high school reaching out to you.

Absolutely. These kids are the future of Team Canada Rowing. I’m so emotionally invested in this incredible culture that the program has developed. I feel I have to help this family grow and help them in developing a winning mindset of their own. I always recommend kids to pursue the university route in order to best develop their rowing career, as well as a field of study that could be their potential occupation in the future.

How many national athletes has the UBC team produced?

UBC Rowing has produced over 100 Olympians since the program started. This is the most out of all the UBC Varsity team. Second is UBC Swimming. 

What are you studying at UBC? Do you see yourself pursuing a career in your field or is rowing your vision?

I’m specializing in Marketing at the Sauder School of Business so that’s definitely an exciting opportunity. I have a strong passion for rowing and I’m still young. My goal right now is to continue training hard for the National team. I’ve yet to row on the Olympic team, which will participate in the 2020 Tokyo Games. That’s my main goal now.

There’s definitely a bright future for you to look forward to! I wish you all the best and I’m excited for what’s coming for you.

Thank you so much for this opportunity today. Yes, I’m excited for what’s to come!