We use cookies to improve your online experience. To learn more please refer to ourCookie Policy.

Sorry but this form will not work without cookies enabled. Please adjust your browser settings to enable cookies to continue. For more information on how to do this please see ourPrivacy & Cookie Policy.

  • 67,000 students, 73 schools, 30 countries.

    Nord Anglia Education is the world's leading premium schools organisation.

  • Did you know?

    We welcome students from over 100 countries and our bespoke language programmes support those who are not native English speakers.

  • We want your child to thrive.

    Our schools are relentlessly focused on delivering the best possible education to your child.

  • A Global Experience

    We believe that a global education will benefit your child while they are at school, and importantly, in their later life.

  • Did you know?

    When you join a Nord Anglia Education school you become part of a global education family.

  • Join the conversation

    Find out the latest news from our family.

Marlon Devonish teaching

Marlon Devonish’s Elite Performance A-Z: B for Belief

Calling on his incredible career as an Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, business mentor and now Elite Performance Coach at BISS Puxi, Marlon Devonish shares his tips for achieving elite performance and guidance on maintaining mental wellbeing and positivity in this A-Z series.

As a junior athlete starting out in the world of athletics, I was part of a group of young British athletes that had the potential to make it to the top. However, as a young sprinter, the athletics pathway through the age groups was especially challenging. The Under 23 age group was in its infancy, un-established and had limited races to compete in. A great many athletes tried to make the huge leap straight from the junior category to the senior age category. I was one of those athletes.

Competing at this elite level made perfect sense to me; it would give me experience competing against a high calibre of athlete. I was confident.  I got myself ready, set and primed to burst out of the blocks as the starter pistol fired us all into action. 

 What I felt next shocked me to my core. As I pushed out of the block, I was suddenly conscious of being just a boy competing against men; a young cub trying to compete against the lions. I was clearly competing at a level far above my current capabilities. The primal forces generated by the athletes around made me ask the question:  can I ever be that good?

 Can I ever become that good?

To this day I’m not sure where I finished in the race, but what I do know is that I was beaten, fairly convincingly, and it hurt!

Sometimes being successful is not just about how you win but how you react when you lose. After this race, and in many subsequent races, I sat in an empty stand and did some serious soul searching. Could I really do this? Do I have what it takes to win at this level? Will I make it?

Our beliefs are like our software.  Together they create a fundamental system that either helps us reach for the stars or hinders us as we progress through life. When you take on big challenges there are setbacks along the way.  These setbacks trigger emotions, concerns and fears within our belief system and are a real test of one’s resilience. 

These beliefs are often set at an early age and can either limit your potential or allow you to be strong and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.

 Building strong positive beliefs in young people involves creating a strong support structure.  As a father, I know that I have a big influence on my children. My words and my actions are all processed by them. As parents, we need to be mindful of making sure we do not project, however unwittingly, our own negative beliefs on our kids and encourage them to take on new challenges with a positive mindset.

 Parents are not alone in this journey. Our professional sports educators put an extraordinary amount of thought and planning into creating a culture of positivity, on setting challenges that are appropriate for the child and creating a support structure that helps them grow. 

 When I coach individual children at BISS, we often speak about creating a winning mindset. We discuss what they are doing well, where their challenges are and creating a plan to push through those challenges. Having gone through so many challenges in my career, with some failures and some success along the way, I hope I can be a real world practical example of what can be achieved if you believe in yourself and the amazing heights you can hit if, even after disappointment, you think smart, dig deep and go again.


Next week I will expand on this further in C for Confidence and share 6 tips from professional athletics for those critical moments when we need to perform and be the best that we can be.

Want to see Marlon in action with students at BISS Puxi?  Check out his video here.


Locate Our Schools


Contact Us

  • If you are enquiring about a place for your child at one of our schools, please use the Admissions Enquiry form. If you are enquiring about a career with Nord Anglia please View all Vacancies.

    Please tick this box to give us your permission to send you information about Nord Anglia in future which might be regarded as direct marketing.

  • Please tick this box to give us your permission to send you information about Nord Anglia in future which might be regarded as direct marketing.


  • Please tick this box to give us your permission to send you information about Nord Anglia in future which might be regarded as direct marketing.