About Us

Welcome to our story.  Let us tell you all about our two co-founders; Noeleen O’Shea and James Heath, plus how Pilates For Sports came about.


Noeleen O'Shea - Principal Trainer & Co-founder

Noeleen has been practicing Pilates for over 15 years and  has owned her own studio, Red Rock Pilates, for the last 9 years. She is a Principal Trainer with the Pilates Alliance of Australasia and initially obtained her Diploma qualification from Pilates International Training Centre.

She then became extremely interested in the classical  approach to Pilates and gained a second qualification from Authentic Pilates Education Australia (APEA).

With a love of sport, teaching sportspeople and athletes has always been a passion. Noeleen’s client list encompasses a range of amateur and professional sportspeople including:

  • professional and amateur age group winning triathletes
  • world masters champion cyclists
  • world champion Ultra Man competitors
  • world masters  and junior state runners
  • State and Australian hockey representatives
  • VFL footballers
  • Junior AFL state representatives
  • State representative cricketers
  • County cricket representatives

Her belief in the power of the Pilates method to change lives and the desire to make the method appeal to more sportspeople lead to the development of Pilates for Sports. This is her journey.

Our Journey

Every Pilates instructor has their own story about how they first tried Pilates. My introduction to Pilates was not via ballet or a sporting injury - although I have always done lots of sports. Instead, I was watching the morning news show 20 years ago and the young, beautiful weather girl was showcasing a different type of exercise each morning. This morning was Pilates turn. What they showed was a lady with a fabulous body hanging upside down from what I came to know was a cadillac. My initial thought was - that looks awesome - I want to do that! And so began my Pilates journey.

During the next 11 years of Pilates classes my life took many turns. I married my husband James. Worked at a multinational corporation in a whole range of roles including marketing and product management which I loved. We bought a house and became pregnant with our first child Katie. It was when I was on maternity leave that I decided I really didn’t want to go back to corporate life. The hours and the travel involved were not what I wanted. My husband also wanted a change from working for large corporations so together we opened a sports store just around the corner from our house, when Katie was just 9 months old.

Owning our own business was fabulous. I worked in the shop and managed the front of house while James worked on the marketing and financial aspects. It gave us a chance to take all of the knowledge we had gained from our corporate experience and apply it to our own company. Our business meetings were no longer in a corporate meeting room and a business idea didn’t require sign offs from 20 stakeholders who all had their own agenda and suggested changes - in the corporate world this often meant that the end product was often something very different to what the original idea had been!

Instead our business meetings now took place at our dining room table with beer and Pizza. The only sign offs needed were from us so it meant we were able to try a whole range of marketing ideas very quickly. Some were a bit off target like the time we over ordered soccer boots in our first season of being involved with the local football clubs. There was no room to store these boots at the shop - luckily our house was just around the corner from the store. Instead baby Connors room was wall to ceiling football boots! If I needed extra sizes James would stack them on the trolley, Katie (now 2), would stand on the front and James would push the shoes and Katie up to the shop - a family affair.

Luckily, the next season the ordering was bang on and the kids had normal room decorations! We also bought a retro caravan which we decked out so that we could sell football boots, runners and team gear directly out of the van to our associated clubs. Most Saturdays the van could be seen at a club in our area selling to the members. We developed many great relationships with the local community.It was a real family affair with the kids having a play room at the shop and it was great to get to know so many of the people in the community in which we lived.   To this day there are teenagers and young adults who fondly remember the purple caravan.  We ran the sports store for 8 years and during this time had 2 more children  Connor and Heidi.

When Heidi was 6 months old we sold the store and looked for our next challenge. So, what did I want to do next with my life. Throughout those 11 years, 3 pregnancies, a start up business, 2 marathons and a few triathlon series my participation in Pilates remained constant. I truly loved what it did to my body. I had never really thought of being an instructor , but now that I had some headspace to really contemplate what I wanted to do next the idea started consistently coming into my thoughts as an option. I loved Pilates and I knew I wanted to do something that involved interacting with people - I really enjoy people , getting to know them hearing their stories, learning from them, being able to contribute something positive to their lives.

The idea of teaching people something I loved and truly believed in seemed a natural fit. My husband was also passionate about Pilates so, with his and my family’s support  (Heidi was still only 10 months old) I did my training, qualified as an instructor and together we opened our next business - a Pilates studio which we have now run successfully for 9 years. During this journey a series of comments, questions, ideas - epiphanys happened to us which lead to the development of  Pilates for Sports. I’d like to share these with you now:

A few years into the business and  I had a few situations where a client had come to me with an injury, I fixed them - success….and then they left? Why????

You know the client. They come to you a bit broken. Unable to perform their daily activities, unable to play their sport. You work with them and slowly but surely you fix them. They are back to their daily activities. They can move pain free. They can play their sport again. Fantastic! and then they leave!

Why I asked myself? They seemed happy. They were doing so well. They were doing more advanced repertoire? They should be loving Pilates now… shouldn’t they?

They will give you a reason - they don’t have time anymore, they want to try other things etc etc. But, usually the real reason is that they've achieved their goal from Pilates, which was to become pain free. Unlike us instructors they don't love doing Pilates purely for Pilates sake. Instead they did it to achieve an outcome which they have now done - so good-bye client.

So, that started us thinking - especially my husband. James has coached many sporting teams from juniors to senior state teams and he suggested that it was vital that our clients had measurable goals. We had a team meeting, James presented his ideas to me and our team and then all of us instructors at the meeting put up barriers to his suggestion. We couldn’t clearly agree what the measurable goals should be based on for our clients. Comments such as  “Some people may never achieve a perfect roll up”. “We don’t want people to feel bad about themselves” were raised and we just could not agree on what the measurable goals should be. The outcome was that the idea was shelved - but it was was not forgotten.  

1st Epiphany:

Later we took a different perspective - what if you could create a measurable goal for your client that wasn’t based on their ability to achieve a particular Pilates move, but rather how Pilates could be used to enable them to achieve a measurable goal outside of Pilates. With this type of goal your client would be more inclined to keep doing Pilates after their injury was fixed thus reducing the number of clients who leave your business!  PILATES FOR SPORTS

I started to wonder why we didn’t have more athletes knocking on our door to do Pilates to improve their performance. The athletes we had at the studio were all there to heal an injury or prevent the occurrence of one. Having played a whole range of sports ourselves, we could clearly see how Pilates improved performance but why couldn’t athletes?

Imagine how attractive Pilates would be if, as a result of doing the classes the athlete could cycle faster and for longer, could run faster for longer, could hit further could kick further. All of this with reduced pain and reduced likelihood of injury!!! Now you’re talking. But how do we get that message across

2nd Epiphany:

The answer - create clear linkages between their sport and the Pilates exercises they are doing.

Great, but then another question arose. How could I create the linkages if I didn’t understand the sport? How could I feel confident talking to someone about their sport if I didn’t understand the intricacies of their sport?

3rd Epiphany:

The answer, I needed to understand the sport. So, which sport would we start with? Looking out of our studio window we watched as literally hundreds of cyclists wound their way along the beach road past our studio. Cycling! James and I have always cycled (albeit more spasmodically since kids) and we love the sport.

So bringing our epiphany’s together:

What if there was a course that provided you with technical knowledge about a sport. What if it also provided you with the tools to be able to meaningfully communicate to the participants  how pilates can improve their performance in that sport. What if the clients measurable goals were based not on their ability to do a Pilates exercise but rather on their ability to go faster. Cyclists would measure their speed over a set distance at the start of the course and then time their speed over the same distance at the end of each 10 week challenge to check improvements - measurable goals that were relevant to the cyclist - tick!

The idea of Pilates for sports was born! A course that you could deploy in your studio to not only increase the retention rate of your clients but a tool that would enable you to stand out from other studios and grow your business by reaching a whole new target market of cyclists.

The work began.

We set about researching the technical aspects of good cycling form. We met with physiotherapists, osteopaths, biomechanists and cycling coaches. Our knowledge about cycling grew and we used this knowledge to design a program that was specifically focussed on enabling cyclists to improve their performance while also decreasing aches and pains and the likelihood of injuries. Great. The cycling components we wanted to cover in each session were clear. For the next year and a half we developed the videos for the course - in essence we became movie directors.

We wrote scripts and designed scenes. Our studio was covered in white paper on a number of occasions while filming took place. We spent many sessions in a sound recording studio - something we’d never done before. We learnt so many new skills during this time.

The course content was thoroughly researched, designed and thought through -. Now for the delivery. As an instructor I also wanted the ability to be able to design and deliver repertoire specifically for my clients.

4th Epiphany:

We would use a class format where the instructor designed the first half of the class. This would enable the instructor to use their expertise to expressly address the needs of their clients. Then, the second part of the class was where the clearly articulated Pilates for Sports program would be delivered.

But there was another area that needed to be addressed

Years ago as a novice instructor I just assumed that people would apply the Pilates principles they practiced in class to their everyday lives. However, it soon became apparent that many people left their powerhouse at the studio door when they went home -  not to be thought about again until they returned the next week. If they were digging in the backyard they didn’t automatically think about using their powerhouse. When they were running, the thought to pull their belly in didn’t enter their mind. I started to actively remind people in each class about using their powerhouse during their daily or weekend activities and it did start to become a part of their daily lives.

Now put this into a sporting situation. A cyclist is sprinting, they are tired and under pressure, they just want to get to the finishing point - one of the last things that they will think of in this pressure situation is the engagement of the Pilates Powerhouse. For the delivery of Pilates for Sports to be a success for the cyclist we needed a way for the engagement of the powerhouse to become second nature

5th Epiphany: 

The Pilates Powerhouse checklist was born

3 simple cues that were repeated in every class. Repeated so often that they became second nature to the cyclist. This meant that when the cyclists were out riding under pressure or getting tired they would automatically engage the pilates powerhouse to give them that extra bit of strength

We were ready to trial our work.

Through our existing client base we arranged for four cyclists to participate in a 10 week trial. We had the class format decided but I was feeling a bit nervous about having the credibility to talk about cycling to cyclists.  

6th Epiphany:

We developed in class videos to be shown during the Initial consultation. The videos used cycling footage and created clear linkages between cycling and Pilates. I used them in the trial and they made me feel so much more at ease and confident when delivering the program. The direct feedback from the trial participants was that the videos were great and really helped them understand how Pilates could help to improve their cycling. Awesome! We also developed cue cards that could be used in class as prompters - they also turned out to be a great tool.

The 10 week trial was complete. Not only did all of our cyclists feel better and have less aches and pains but they all achieved increases of 10-15% in their speed -so  fantastic.

7th Epiphany: 

The 10 week challenge was born. We designed Four 10 week challenges. Each with a specific cycling focus and each would start and end with the cyclist measuring their improvement.

So, we had the content, the course structure and the delivery mechanisms. Was there any other way we could help our cyclists achieve their goals?

As with any goal consistent practice will deliver faster results. Over the years I have tried many ways to to get our clients to do homework. Written down exercises,provided laminated sheets (which some of my clients lovingly refer to as ‘placemats’) but to be honest I had limited success. What I really needed was an articulated program that cyclists could do at home to support their work in the studio.

8th Epiphany:

10PFS was born

We designed, developed and video taped a series of 30 minute pilates workouts that the cyclist could do away from the studio. They were divided four 10 week challenges, the linkages between pilates and cycling were fully articulated, and every fortnight the cyclist would get a new, more challenging workout they could progress through at home. The challenges would serve to reinforce what the cyclists learnt at the studio and would supercharge their results.

All of this is available to you in the Pilates for Sports - cycling course. Our team is available to provide you with support every step of the way...from learning the content to delivery of the challenges to your studio. It is a way for you to stand out from the other studios around you and to attract cyclists to your studio by offering them a meaningful articulated program that will benefit them and help them improve in the sport they love.  

We hope you enjoy the journey.


Noels and James



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.