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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Isaac Hing breaks mental barriers to unlock his potential

Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics
April 8, 2017. Junior Isaac Hing during the Jim Click Shootout. Drachman Stadium, Tucson, AZ.

University of Arizona track and field sprinter Isaac Hing has mastered turning the pressure of performing well into a cool, calm and collected trance of pre-race meditation. 

He might not spill his secret right away, but the redshirt senior starts by getting into the proper mentality.

 “I think about how lucky I am to be here, and the nerves just go away. It’s unbelievable,” Hing said. 

Hing has set a handful of personal records throughout his track career at Arizona thanks to his level head just moments before competition. His strong-willed mentality keeps him focused, but not too anxious to cross the finish line.

This is the way Hing chooses to treat his final year racing for the Wildcats. 

After redshirting as a walk-on in 2015, Hing spent countless hours training to improve his times and impress his coaches. As a result, Hing’s sophomore season produced personal bests in multiple races. 

However, Hing’s progressions seemed to run out of momentum by the time his junior season rolled around. 

“I thought I was going to have a really superb junior year, but things just weren’t clicking,” Hing said. “I was in a rut.”

Hing’s mental struggles continued throughout much of the 2017 campaign, but he didn’t let that discourage him from achieving his goals. He managed to shave off nearly a tenth of a second from his 100-meter time and posted a personal best 21.66 in the 200-meter. 

Still, Hing felt off mentally. Heading into his senior season, Hing knew he needed to change his approach.

“As the same as really every other sport, a rut is mental for the most part. Once I changed my mindset, I started seeing better results on the track,” Hing said.

Since then, the sprinter has adopted a new outlook on collegiate sports, and he admitted it has become the key to his success.  

“Everything here is about performance and how well you run when the timer starts. You naturally put a lot of pressure on yourself. But then I took a step back and realized how blessed I am to be doing this,” Hing said.

Hing stressed that this new perspective, one that’s focused on not putting too much pressure on himself, has allowed the sprinter to unlock levels of his potential he hadn’t even considered to exist before. 

Reaching a new level may seem like a stretch when thinking about the infinite number of collegiate athletes who could be strategizing the same way. But Hing isn’t like most other NCAA competitors. 

Born in Malaysia, Hing spent his youth and prep career at an international school in Shanghai, China. It was there he developed his speed and athleticism, except it wasn’t on the track. 

Hing’s sport of choice was rugby. In fact, he starred as a winger, catching the ball and racing down the pitch, using his speed to outrun opponents. 

It wasn’t long before his school’s track coach came pleading after Hing, begging the teen to make better use of his innate running ability. Hing joined, and in no time at all, he became one of Shanghai’s premier 400-meter runners. 

His next step was embarking on a journey to the United States.

Hing’s decision to enroll at the University of Arizona was more or less an act of fate. His father, along with several aunts and uncles, had lived in Tucson earlier in their lives. Now it was time for Hing to extend his relatives’ legacy, as well as create his own. 

After being admitted into the UA, Hing went out of his way to reach out to the track and field program. 

“I was already accepted here and just figured that I should make the most of my experience. I thought that I could make this team stronger, and I still believe that,” Hing said.

There was never any lack of effort on Hing’s end. He eventually earned a scholarship and is now looking to put an exclamation point on his career at the UA. 

Hing is finishing up the indoor season, and soon he’ll gear up to attack the outdoor season with the same peace of mind that has propelled him to one personal record after another. 

“I’m here to score some points for coach [Francesca] Green and coach [Fred] Harvey and the rest of my team,” Hing said.

Follow Rob Kleifield on Twitter

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