Shrewsbury Town defender Aaron Pierre spells out his aims on whiteboard of dreams
Aaron Pierre has credited his eye-catching rise through the pyramid to a whiteboard crammed with short and long-term goals and inspirational quotes.
The dominant defender was recently crowned Shrewsbury Town player of the year after his first season at the club, building on the previous campaign, where he cleaned up the awards with Northampton Town.
Ex-Fulham and Brentford youngster Pierre, 27, was part of the furniture at Wycombe, where he made more than 100 League Two appearances in three years, before his Cobblers switch in 2017.
And that is when the London-born Grenada international experienced a lightbulb moment, having watched a clip from a motivational speaker, and decided to spell out his ambitions on a whiteboard.
Asked about the secrets behind his player of the year awards on the Beyond The Athlete podcast, Pierre replied: “Consistency, and setting goals for yourself.
“Within the last two to two-and-a-half years I’ve bought a whiteboard after I watched a clip of a motivational speaker who said write down your goals.
“There are short-term and long-term goals and once you’ve achieved the short-term goals wipe it clean out and start again. You start building and link the short-term goals to the long-term goals.” Pierre continued: “Clean sheets, how many goals I want, how much I work out in the week, amount of games I play, the weight I want to be at.
“And underneath it is motivational speeches like ‘when you believe you will achieve’, ‘make it happen’, ‘let’s go champ’, just to get me going in the morning.
“Other people have different ways, listening to music just to get them pumped, I do both. I listen to aggressive music before a game because I need to be that aggressive dominating player.
“I listen to (motivational speaker) Eric Thomas a lot and ever since I’ve started that more goals have come in the last two years than my whole career.”
“They are important goals too, I feel more confident, I’m not over-thinking it I’m just doing it.”
Pierre’s solid performances in his 37 appearances for Salop last season – alongside four goals, one of which led to the FA Cup tie against Liverpool – have alerted Championship clubs. It would be no surprise if further progression through the leagues had a spot on Pierre’s whiteboard.
The defender – who hails from an athletic family including sisters who competed in sprinting and throwing – represented Middlesex as a sprinter himself.
He leaves no stone unturned in his pursuit of perfection. As well as inspirational and motivational gains, he lives on the demanding Ketogenic Diet – a form of low-fat, high-carb diet – and is promoting its effects.
Pierre’s highlight in blue and amber has to be his final-minute rocket against Championship Bristol City, which downed the Robins in a memorable FA Cup third round replay and set up the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
Town fans may have the whiteboard to thank for that experience, too, as Pierre explains: “We got a throw-in, our wing-back plays it to me in the middle of the pitch – finding pockets like that is one of the things on my board I’m trying to do.
“I saw Jason Cummings peel to the side, ran past Kasey Palmer, I don’t think Jason wanted to give me the ball back, but it came back to me just outside the box, I saw a gap and thought ‘Jesus, take the will’.
“It’s probably the sweetest strike of my life and what a day to do it, to play Liverpool.”
The controversial Anfield replay provides tougher memories for Sam Ricketts’ men. After Pierre explained Town were handed a telling off at half-time, the visitors were denied by VAR before the Kop kids progressed.
Pierre said: “Obviously you want to play against their best team, if you lose you want to lose against the very best.
“But that was their position, we couldn’t change that, we could only play what’s in front of us.
“We played a young team but let’s get this straight these youngsters would probably beat most League One teams.
“They follow the same philosophy as the first team, they train the same as the best team in the world right now. They had the same structure.
“There’s a lot of talented youngsters, four or five key players knocking on the first team door. It’s not an easy game.”