David “Dirk” Smith is the head coach for Stonewall Performance. He is pursuing his PhD in sport/exercise science and psychology at the German Sports University in Cologne, holds a master’s degree in sport/exercise psychology and a bachelor’s degree in sport/exercise science. He is the managing editor of sports and associate director of education for Compete Sports Diversity and the community manager for Virtual Sport Psych. Dirk is a 3x national champion and 16x Gay Games medalist in competitive swimming.
Currently based in Cologne, Germany, he is a sport psychology consulant, strength and conditioning coach, swimming coach, published scientist, and journalist. Dirk’s outreach is truly international as he continuously seeks to challenge his own personal and professional life through education and experience.
- Find all of Dirk’s experience qualifications on LinkedIn.
- Listen to Dirk’s podcast appearances on Podchaser.
- Follow Dirk’s research on ResearchGate.
- Keep up wih Dirk’s LGBTQ+ Sports News on Compete Sports Diversity.
What is Stonewall Performance?
Stonewall Performance is built upon Dirk’s own experiences as a gay man when he joined his first LGBTQ+ sports club where he soon found himself part of a community of like-minded LGBTQ+ athletes for whom he could train with, learn from, and develop his own skills in pursuit of his goals. As a result, Dirk’s self confidence, self esteem, feelings of acceptance and belonging all shot through the roof and soon thereafter Dirk found himself part of a wider LGBTQ+ sports community. Attending events with other LGBTQ+ sports teams ranging from local and regional events to national and international scale events, surrounded by like minded LGBTQ+ athletes who helped him discover that sport is truly for everyone.
Dirk attended his first Gay Games in 2010 and discovered just how big the LGBTQ+ sports community was and the impact it had on himself, his teammates and friends as well as the friendships and connections he made from there. Dirk realized that the mental, physical and social benefits and power of exercise and sport as a platform to empower confidence, strength, courage, acceptance and leadership for LGBTQ+ people was vastly underutilized within the greater LGBTQ+ community.
Thus, Stonewall Performance was born, originally as Stonewall Fitness to “unite the LGBTQ+ community through exercise and sport” but has since grown toward it’s mission to inspire confidence, empowerment and authenticity for the LGBTQ+ community through sport. Through the simple act of doing sport, be it swimming, playing soccer, running, practicing gymnastics, joining a roller derby team, doing martial arts, or whatever you decide. Learning the skills of the sport, maintaining the discipline to train, pursuing a goal, everything it takes to be an athlete can have such a greater impact on both an individual and their community. Through sport we can all develop the strength, resilience, confidence, power, and grit we need to be ourselves and stand up for ourselves in a world that is often unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ people.
What does it mean to be “Fit with PRIDE?”
My passion is based upon how sport and exercise influence the mental, physical and social health of both individuals and the community. Through this endeavor I have accumulated 15 years of knowledge, training and experience as an athlete, coach, teacher, reseacher and leader that I channel through Stonewall Performance. As a result, I am honored to work with and learn from my athletes, peers, and colleagues to build confidence, empowerement and authencity through sport.
My philosophy has been built around establishing a greater purpose in sport and exercise by inspiring my athletes to seek growth through challenge and developing goals based upon the improvement of the self. This task oriented, mastery focused approach looks beyond simple aesthetics and competition by diving deeper into pushing the limits of each athlete against themselves to discover their true capabilities as a person. Only from there can one truly understand what it means to be “athletic” and thus, Fit with PRIDE.