From selection blow to career success
Missing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games galvanised Jacob Anderson to pursue his goals on and off the hockey pitch.
Jacob, chosen to represent Australia in men’s hockey at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, could easily have stewed in disappointment after being overlooked for the Olympics.
Instead, he took a more constructive path that interlaced his drive, athletic experience and business studies to push towards other career targets.
“Mentally I’m pretty strong,” Jacob said. “When that happened last year, I felt like I didn’t want to waste any time.
“I more or less started training straight way. I feel like I’m the fittest I’ve ever been because of that.
“Away from hockey, I wanted to start a business. So, I started to explore the possibilities around an online strength and conditioning business.”
Jacob has submitted the final assignment for his Bachelor of Exercise Science/Bachelor of Business Administration degree at ACU and is confident he will graduate later this year.
After taking seven years to complete the dual degree, crammed around his Kookaburras commitments, the 25-year-old is hungry to harness the skills he has acquired to make headway into the online coaching and fitness sector.
He has spied an opening in the constantly shifting gym market for a business model with a heightened focus on grassroots, one-on-one coaching.
There is a niche in between the 24/7 gym juggernauts, he believes, for taking what he has learned in high performance sport and applying that expertise to community and junior sport.
“Since Covid, people can go and join those 24-hour gyms, and that’s great if you just want to go in and get it done,” Jacob said. “But there’s now a need for people to not just exercise, but be part of a community. There’s a demand for a more personalised service.”
The result is Trilogy Performance Coaching. It’s not the finished product, but an online beachhead into a market he plans to transform into a bricks and mortar strength and conditioning gym.
“In that mid-teen age group, there’s rural teams and people who wouldn’t have access to top tier coaching,” he said.
“The digital marketing subjects in my course have been really useful. And all the consumer psychology stuff has been really cool.
“I’d done a lot of psychology from the exercise science side, and then when I balanced that with the consumer psychology, I found they linked together quite well.”
Growing up in Mackay, representing the Kookaburras was not always part of Jacob’s plans.
The son of a teacher (mum) and a mining superintendent (dad), he played rugby league as teenager and even now looks more like a footballer than a hockey striker.
Resistance training programs that were ingrained in rugby league development were not established features of hockey’s pathway.
When he moved to the Queensland Academy of Sport, and before landing in hockey’s Australian Institute of Sport set-up in Perth, Jacob was curious about training methods that were novel to hockey.
His interest in physical preparation led him to ACU’s School of Behavioural and Health Sciences where a range of possibilities opened.
Although technically a student at the Banyo Campus, Jacob is part of the university’s Elite Athlete and Performer Program, which supports his all-round development and provides access to course content at any of ACU’s seven campuses.
That has been an important support network for an elite athlete whose talent takes him to tournaments around the world.
“I’m pretty organised. If I know I’m going to be away, I get assignments and other things done early because they pile up pretty quick.”
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