Five-time world long jump champion Brittney Reese has ruled supreme in her domain for a number of years. As she gears up for another shot at a world title, the American shares her words of wisdom.

1. Stay patient

“As an athlete you will have good days and bad days, so it is important to be patient. For me, the moment I first realised I needed to show patience was in my first year turning pro. I was used to winning collegiate competitions and finishing on the podium, but at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games I placed fifth. This made me [realise] that I am not just going to be handed a medal on a plate.

“I had to figure out a way I could win a medal. To achieve that took patience, because I needed to work hard and put more into my craft.

“At this moment in my career I am also showing patience. I had surgery in November 2013, I’m not quite where I would like to be, but I refuse to panic. My time will come again.”

Brittney Reese ()

PROLIFIC: Reese (centre) won her first national title at the 2008 USATF Olympic Trials, her first of seven so far

 2. Love your sport

“If you don’t love what you do, you are not going to put your heart and soul into it. If you have a passion for your sport then you will have no problem getting up on a morning and going to practise.

“I have learned to love the technical side of the sport, but I just love every aspect of jumping. I love slam dunking, jumping in the sand, all of it.

“It helps that practise with my coach, Jeremy Fischer, is often fun. Every Tuesday we have a fun competition off a shortened run-up, with the winner taking an unofficial WWF-style belt. I am given a metre as the woman against the men, but I often get the better of the guys.”

Brittney Reese ()

WORLD'S BEST: Reese has won three outdoor world titles, two indoor world titles as well as Olympic gold

3. Be coachable

“It is vital to be able to make adjustments in both training and competition. Since I started playing basketball in fourth grade I’ve always believed I’ve had an ability to be coachable, and this has translated to track and field.

“I was once told I had the worst landing in track and field, but I believe I have worked on that to the point where no-one is talking about my landing anymore. I also had to make major adjustments at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow to enable me to defend my title. I had squeezed into the final in the 12th and final spot [with a modest 6.57m] when my coach told me to ‘stop acting like a girl, and just jump’.

“That night I went back, looked at the film and tried to figure out where I was going wrong. I found I wasn’t using my full speed down the runway and I was not running off the board. I made those adjustments, and the next day I won gold [with a best of 7.01m].”