Launched via the The Loughborough University Enterprise Network, The Athlete Place is a robust education platform that provides vital advice and guidance for aspiring athletes and parents across all sports.
It offers a holistic approach to athlete and parent support, with 24/7 access to elite athlete and expert-supported education across key topics, namely Athlete wellbeing, nutrition, mindset, athlete parenting, emotional support, education,sleep , training and competition, anti-doping and safeguarding.
Joe, who joined Loughborough as a student on the Sport with a Foundation Year for Elite Athletes programme, is currently based in The Studio – Loughborough University's business incubator – where he sits alongside fellow like-minded entrepreneurs who are also developing new, innovative and sustainable businesses.
“The Athlete Place is an online education platform that offers guidance and information to athletes and their parents across all sports and abilities,” he explained.
“Initially it took a focus on mental health in athletes but then I later realised that there’s so much more to wellbeing than just mental health.
“For me, I forgot to balance things – life, sport, education – I didn’t get that balance right which led me to being all or nothing in my sport. That really took a downward spiral in January 2020.
“I fell out of love with the sport despite running a personal best in my last competition. Then, two weeks later, I left my training group and didn’t step foot on the track for ten months.
“It all fell apart and it was down to my own doing for not having the right support around me.
“It’s very easy to just get lost in the journey and process of sport, and to focus on the wrong things and to be driven by external validation and external achievements.”
Alongside support for those competing, Joe, with his Mum, Caroline, have focussed on providing resources for parents and guardians of young athletes by launching “The Athlete Parent Place”, an innovative platform and resource dedicated to parents in sport:
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ for raising an athlete…we know that parents are always their number one supporter, but if they’re not getting the correct guidance and support themselves, then how are they supposed to support and guide?”.
Joe’s business continues to go from strength-to-strength, working alongside various partners and national governing bodies (NGBs). The latest of which is England Athletics, who saw something special in his product:
“I was particularly enamoured and drawn to the innovation of the platform,” said Chris Jones, CEO, England Athletics.
“I have three teenage children, two of whom are involved in sport at a community level, and they will no doubt face similar challenges. As a parent, I want to know how best I can support them through those sometimes difficult periods.
“In some cases, young people these days need to be encouraged that it’s okay to not be okay. We have a responsibility to create an environment, culture, and safe space for people to flourish and be their best.”