Sussex speedster reveals his journey to co-founding Pace Journal.

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T20 globetrotter Tymal Mills has had his fair share of setbacks since his debut as a promising red-ball fast bowler and is using his experience to help others through a new venture, Pace Journal.

The Sussex and England left-armer was almost forced into retirement at the age of 22 before remodelling himself as a T20 specialist which led to five England caps to date as well as stints in the Indian Premier League, Big Bash and Pakistan Premier League.

Mills’ interests outside of playing cricket have been equally career changing with a degree in journalism and regular commentary and punditry stints in the broadcast media setting him up for a second career.

The 27-year-old has recently taken his personal development to the next stage having co-founded media organisation Pace Journal and setting up its sister platform, Shots Journal. He has spoken to the PCA on his progress…

  • Q: You have had a rollercoaster of a career so far, how have you managed to deal with the ups and downs of your journey?
  • A: Yes, I’ve had a lot of injuries and setbacks but I can’t complain. I think it’s important when you get some bad news with your cricket, injuries in particular, to make sure you have clear goals and checkpoints to aim for and to keep busy and productive with your other interests.
  • Q: What were your emotions when you became so close to retirement a few years ago?
  • A: It wasn’t nice to hear of course being only 22 at the time, but for me it was never really an option. I was always going to commit to just t20 cricket – and I’m glad that I did!
  • Q: Did it open your eyes to the importance of a future career?
  • A: Probably not immediately as all I was focused on was getting back to playing again. However, once I settled into my new career/life I realised just how much free time I now had. I studied journalism at University so I definitely had an interest in that field and luckily for me an opportunity came up with Sky to do some commentary on a domestic 50-over match and it went from there!
  • Q: How would you explain your relationship with personal development over the years?
  • A: I’ve probably been luckier than most in terms of, as I said, I’ve had the combination of more free time than most coupled with already having an interest in the media/journalism. For a lot current professionals it can be difficult to try and search out other opportunities whilst still playing all forms of the game.
  • Q: How do you manage the cricket, personal development and family life balance?
  • A: I’d like to think I’m pretty organised which definitely helps. I make sure that I’ve got a good planner/calendar app on my phone and I try not to let things build up on me such as emails etc. My wife and I have just become parents to our daughter though so this may all change!
  • Q: You have recently got involved with ‘Pace Journal’, how did that come about?
  • A: I followed the account by chance last year as I really liked the visuals of the account as well as the content they were putting out. Then, at the start of this year the founder, Shahbaz reached out to me, we got to know each other he told me about the project and future plans and asked if it was something I’d keen to be involved with – which I was!
  • Q: How involved are you with the day-to-day running of the organisation?
  • A: A the moment I’m more involved behind the scenes, giving feedback and my opinions on things such as design, content and schedule. I’ve also since joining helped to launch our new batting channel, Shots Journal which we started by interviewing Chris Lynn. In the future however I will be much more involved on a practical level, giving my thoughts on insights about bowling but unfortunately due to the pandemic it has delayed these plans slightly.
  • Q: What is the overall aims of Pace Journal and Shots Journal and how do you see them progressing in the future?
  • A: We hope that we already give some really valuable insight into how cricketers of all different standards go about their business both physically and mentally. In the future we have some really exciting plans to take that to the next level both digitally and in person. We should hopefully have another channel launching soon.
  • Q: You have been a regular commentator and pundit in the media over the past couple of years, what are your future goals?
  • A: I’ve really enjoyed all of the media work I’ve been given with Sky, BBC and TalkSport and it’s definitely something I want to continue this alongside my playing career and hopefully progress it further beyond that. During the lockdown I’ve done a couple of media training courses via Zoom to help expand my skill set which the PCA helped to fund which I found really useful.
  • Q: Finally, how important is it to capitalise on any opportunities that come your way that could open doors for your future?
  • A: It’s hugely important in my opinion. As I said earlier, it can be tough for players to get out there themselves, but when these opportunities come to you, you have to take them. Even if it’s something that you may not consider to be in your comfort zone or of particular interest. You just never know if you’ll end up enjoying it or meet somebody else that could help you down a different path.

Find out more about Pace Journal by following them on Instagram, and visit their website. Visit the Shots Journal Instagram and also their website.

Mills recently appeared in a PCA Vodcast with fellow T20 pioneers Dimitri Mascarenhas and Owais Shah which you can watch below.

Click here for more information on the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme.

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