Hintsa drive the Race Against Dementia

Posted on the 22nd April 2021

Hintsa’s performance coaching philosophy originates from Dr Aki Hintsa, who knew that high performance is built on a foundation of well-being.  His methods were developed with elite athletes and then famously applied to Formula 1 drivers, notably supporting Mika Hakkinen to win two World Championships in 1998 and 1999.  Over the last seven seasons, 96% of the podium places have been won by a Hintsa-affiliated driver, and Lewis Hamilton’s 2020 victory was the 15th World Drivers’ Championship for a Hinsta-affiliated driver.

Hintsa and have extended their work to business professionals – and now to working with Race Against Dementia’s postdoctoral research scientists (the RAD Fellows).

Dan Sims, of Hintsa says, ‘It has been a great honour to support the Scientists whilst they carry out their extremely meaningful work. Much like our Formula One drivers they experience some common demands, ‘competing in the same sport’, but also have their own unique challenges to address in order to optimise their well-being and subsequent performance.  As with training athletes who are passionate about their sport, it is about achieving balance, not overwhelming the body or mind but finding the sweet spot that elicits the greatest performance.

At Hintsa we have seen how this is directly related to the individuals well-being.  Achieving the right balance of well-being factors (sleep, nutrition, physical activity etc.) has a dramatic impact on happiness and performance.  We use our expertise and experience within these fields to optimise these areas in line with the individuals identity, purpose and level of control, their Core.  This is the final piece of the puzzle; living and working in line with our core leads to great satisfaction and ultimately improved well-being and performance.’

This kind of support is of course very rare for research scientists.  The RAD Fellows have all reported how much they have valued it.  They all showed benefits in their self-assessment of holistic well-being across the months working with Dan.  They each had individual goals that included improving sleep, optimising nutrition, balancing professional/persona/social balance and developing a growth mindset.

RAD Fellow, Cara Croft noted that ‘I think why Hintsa works well is the personalized aspect, so setting your own values and then the longer term and shorter incremental term goals to improve wellbeing. I also think it works on a level of openness that may only be reached with somebody external. I think doing this in an academic setting you might be unwilling to share reasons why you’re not as high performing as you’d like to be. Even now, in many academic environments, long days of research are perceived as the only goal and any time not spent on that is why you’re not successful. ‘

To hear more about the Hintsa story watch Annastiina Hintsa’s TEDx talk here.

Hintsa performance coaching has been one of the highlights of the development programme, timed well to begin during lockdown when self-reflection was very helpful! ...
I genuinely made meaningful change to my working habits, sleep regime, attitude towards stress/ work-life balance and feel I have come out of this programme with a tailored set of tools to apply to future challenges... I can’t think of any other programme that offers the opportunity to undergo coaching like this- and it is a huge advantage of the RAD scheme.

Dr Claire Durrant

I think the Hintsa coaching and personal goal tracking is something so unique to RAD, and also knowing F1 drivers are on similar programs the links to F1 are undeniable. I really like how it emphasizes small sustainable changes to wellbeing can lead to increases in performance.

Dr Cara Croft

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