Everything Nathan Lynch does is goal-oriented. He is an extremely self-driven and motivated individual, and it’s not often the 22-year-old doesn’t achieve what he sets out to do.
“I always wanted to play at a high level, whether it was in the Olympics or representing my country,” Nathan says.
“I said to my parents last year that all I wanted to do before I finished the sport was to wear the green and gold.”
A year later and that’s exactly what he was doing: representing Australia at the Under-23 Men’s Softball World Cup, not only achieving his dream of playing for his country but winning for his country too.
“The whole experience was unbelievable, the environment was crazy,” Nathan says.
“The Argentinian fans love softball. It’s such a small sport everywhere else, but over there it felt pretty much more popular and a big sport behind soccer and rugby union.”
Nathan has a similar approach when it comes to academia. Now in his fifth year of study at the University of Canberra, Nathan is undertaking his Honours in Sport and Exercise Science, with an aim to complete a PhD in Skill Acquisition with strong support from his supervisors, to assist in trying to work within a professional sporting organisation over in the United States.
He puts his ability to excel in so many areas down to his upbringing.
“I grew up doing so much, just trying juggle school, homework and four or five sports,” he says.
“My parents always wanted me to succeed and be able to do what I wanted to in life.
“It’s allowed me to have those basic abilities from school and now go and reach those dreams, so now doing the same just comes naturally.
“At 22, it means I've done a lot already, but there are always more things to do and I can keep getting better.”
Currently in the softball off-season, Nathan is slowly getting back into a routine. While he’s still taking a break from the playing field, he’s creating his own gym programs, as he is also a certified strength and conditioning coach.
“It's taken a long time to understand things and I still have a long way to go, but it’s one of those areas where I incorporate a mix of my own knowledge and general tips from other people and coaches.
“Some things fall off the priority list, like going to the gym and sometimes I'm rushing to training sessions or a class.”
It’s fortunate that Nathan has the skills to self-teach, with limited resources available in his chosen sport. Softball is self-funded, meaning players are required to cover the majority of costs themselves, including the travel expenses for his trip to the World Cup last year.
“Softball Australia helped fund some bits but unfortunately, it still did cost a fair bit.
The money I received from the Eldon and Anne Foote Scholarship last year [assisted] in paying for my trip along with other fundraising efforts,” he says.
But where there’s a will there’s way. Nathan will be working hard to afford National Championships which are being held early next year, with an eye on taking that next step and some day earning selection into the Open Men’s Australian Softball team.
“They currently have a really talented team that just won the world championships as well, so I’ll be working hard, getting all the extra fielding and hitting reps in, taking the opportunities available to keep improving my game to hopefully one day have the opportunity to represent my country at that level. With the talent we have in this country, you have to be at the top of your game and be a good team player to contribute to the team’s success.”
“I don’t know when my softball career will end but I know the qualities, lessons and friendships from softball will carry over into the rest of my life. I want to pursue a sport-related career off the field with the goal to reach the US. Hopefully in a position at a professional or college level relating to the research I plan to carry out for my PhD.”
Words by Aggie Bradshaw, photos supplied