Search icon

Women in Sport

24th Nov 2017

“I don’t need to be telling him that he’s missed a shot” – Chloe Magee on pitfalls of playing with your sibling

Conan Doherty

“Mental is a huge part of sport now” – Chloe Magee.

As a three-time Olympian at just 28, it’s fair to say that Chloe Magee knows what it takes to be a competitor.

In 2008, in 2012 and in 2016, the Donegal native represented Ireland every time at the Olympic Games. She excelled – before her time – in singles badminton and she was the first Irish woman to ever win a badminton match at the Olympics.

She is very much the poster girl for Irish racquet-bearers but, now, she’s looking to scale new heights – different heights.

Chloe and her brother Sam Magee have played mixed doubles together before but they’ve never really dreamed together or put the idea of winning together at the top of the list.

After Rio 2016 though, the sister had reached a crossroads.

“Sam and myself had played mixed for quite a long time and we had always had good results but not brilliant results because I was focusing on singles,” Chloe Magee explained in a fascinating interview with Girls With Goals.

“After Rio, I just needed to change something up.

“I was getting fed up with badminton and I needed something new, new goals, something to keep me motivated and keep me going or else I was going to stop – for me, that was to stop singles and focus on mixed and give it my full priority for a while to see how it goes.”

Of course, that decision hasn’t brought about a perfectly seamless transition. Sibling relationships are, for the most part, different to any other bond you’ve made. You’re too close, for better or worse. You’re fed up with each other, you’re too comfortable with each other, you like to get under each other’s skin.

As Chloe Magee would tell you herself, her and Sam are no different.

“We’re like any other brother and sister,” she said.

“It is actually quite tough to play with your brother. In some ways, it’s really, really good because we know each other so well – I know what makes him work, he knows what makes me work. But, in other ways, you can say stuff to your brother that you wouldn’t say to someone else.

“Sam and myself, we actually worked with a psychologist to help us a bit with that. We were just sometimes very critical of each other, pointing out things that we both already knew and we didn’t need to point them out. So we worked with Kate Kirby [Head of Performance Psychology at the Irish Institute of Sport] and it was fantastic.

“She gave us a whole new insight into realising that Sam can make a mistake and I can accept it or I can make a mistake and he can accept it and we don’t have to be at each other all the time. It really helped us so when we got into difficult situations on the court, pressure moments, we realised things like, ‘okay, I don’t need to tell Sam that he’s missed that shot. He already knows that so just move on, Chloe.'”

Listen to the full interview below from 16:52.


Chloe Magee