ISSUE FIFTEEN/MAR 2017
$12.00 RRP (inc GST) REVERSE ENGINEERING FOR BIRMINGHAM 2022, DEFINING CULTURE, PERSONAL BRANDING, HOCKEY HOPES, BOWLS PROCESS vs OUTCOME
COACHING THE ALCHEMY THAT CAN TRANSMUTE BRONZE AND SILVER INTO GOLD
FROM THE EDITOR Every four years, the Commonwealth countries of the British Empire compete in a multisport games, similar to the Olympic Games but not as inclusive. Now the best Commonwealth Coaches bring their athletes see who has the strongest mindset, the clearest why and, of course, the best coach to pull all this together. It kicks off with Queen's Baton Relay, a games tradition that calls the Commonwealth's athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition. The Gold Coast 2018 Queenâ€™s Baton Relay is set to be the longest in Commonwealth Games history. Covering 230,000 km over 388 days, the Baton will make its way through the six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Can you imagine using this method to spread a message around the world? These days we use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to spread instant messages with the world. With all this sharing, you would be forgiven to think we have become the most informed people in history, but the evidence doesnâ€™t bare this out.
With all the noise, it is harder and harder for us to sift, sort and pick out the information that appeals to us. Our message, as coaches, is usually to an individual or, at most, a team. We deliver personal performance where it can make the most difference, but for some, the delivery method is changing. I am seeing some amazing changes in how we deliver coaching and keep our clients accountable. This will offer coaches the opportunity to deliver coaching on a much bigger scale, while retaining the personal connectivity and trust. There are a number of programs working towards this already and in the next edition, we will be exploring a number of these and how you can leverage your own time for more clients, more business and more profits. Until then, Happy Coaching.
Stewart Fleming Editor
COACHINGLIFE MAR 2018 ISSUE 15 Coaching Life is published 4 times a year and is your authoritative source for information on coaching in sport, business, life and anywhere else you find a coach. Published By Operait Pty Ltd ABN 63 189 244 221 24 Leo Lindo Drive, Shailer Park, QLD 4128 Editor Stewart Fleming email@example.com Advertising & Directory Jack Fleming firstname.lastname@example.org Printing Inhouse Print & Design email@example.com DISCLAIMER This publication is not medical or professional advice. It is intended only to inform and illustrate. No reader should act on the information contained in this publication without first seeking professional advice that takes into account personal circumstances. The publishers and editors give no representation and make no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the accuracy, completeness, currency or reliability of any of the materials contained and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to this publication by the publishers, editors or authors. The publishers do not endorse any person, company, organisation or techniques mentioned in this publication unless expressly stated otherwise. The publishers do not endorse any advertisements or special advertising features in this publication, nor does the publisher endorse any advertiser(s) or their products/services unless expressly stated otherwise. Articles are published in reliance upon the representation and warranties of the authors of the articles and without our knowledge of any infringement of any third parties copyright. The publishers and editors do not authorise, approve, sanction or countenance any copyright infringement. The publication is protected under the Commonwealth Copyrights Act 1968 and may not, in whole or in part, be lent, copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine readable format without the express written permission of the publisher. ISSN 2205-6963 Copyright Operait Pty Ltd All rights reserved.
8 RAISING THE BAR
7 times National Coach of the year, Vladimir Vatkin knows what it takes to win and has high hopes despite a couple of injury setbacks. Vladimir Vatkin Gymnastics Australia
17 14 BACK 2 BACK After winning gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Lisa Alexander is preparing her girls for the Gold Coast. She shares her recipe for success as they aim for Back to Back Commonwealth Golds. Lisa Alexander Diamonds Coach
7 WHAT IS CULTURE Human beings are hiving creatures; we take our social cues from those around us. So, if we want a shift in culture, within our teams, organisations, communities or industries, we must first look at how we are behaving currently, collectively, and explore what led us to this place. Kim Yabsley Cultures of Excellence, Stratcomm
17 DIVING IN
12 KOOKABURRA MAGIC
20 THE HOCKEYROO WAY
Coaching Life interviews Colin Batch, the Kookaburra’s Coach since 2016 on his background, the outlook for the Commonwealth Games and the ones to watch in the upcoming showdown. Colin Batch Kookaburra’s Coach
Top Diving Coach, Adrian Hinchliffe, shares his top 4 tips for new coaches. What leads to the ultimate success in the pool can help you get to your goals in sport, business and life. Adrian Hinchliffe Coach – Diving Australia
Coaching Life interviews Paul Guadoin, former Kookaburra and current coach of the Hockeyroos in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games. Paul Guadoin Hockeyroos Coach
26 22 33
24 A BOXING EDUCATION
33 ELITE ATHLETE PREPARATIONS
What does it take to coach a world-class boxer? Kevin takes off the gloves and delivers a knockout punch on the essentials to deliver results when it counts, in and out of the ring.
The athlete who wins on the day is the one who has the best balance of physical abilities and mental strength. Performance Mindset expert, Stuart Walter, shares his tips for top performance. Stuart Walter Peak Performance Mindset Specialist
Kevin Smith Head Coach â€“ Boxing Australia
26 REVERSE ENGINEERING COACHING While it is still 4 years off, success at Birmingham in 2022 will require some rethinking. Will Predicting, Shaping or Ambushing lead our coaches and athletes to success at the Next Commonwealth Games? Wayne Goldsmith New Sport Future
39 COUNTER PUNCH The Counter Punch program is helping kids regulate emotions of anger and anxiety. This program was developed to facilitate coaches to be able to maximise the connection they create and give them the tools they need. Mercedas Taaffe-Cooper International Boxing Coach
30 PROCESS VS OUTCOME As a former world No.1, Steve Glasson knows about success but his squad of 17 able-bodied and para-sport squad are gearing up for their own journey. He explores the Process vs Outcome and where that fits into the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Steve Glasson OAM National Coach Bowls Australia
42 PERSONAL BRANDING FOR LEGACY Your personal brand is a business skill like any other. When coaches, like Neale Daniher get this right, they create a powerful image and ultimately, a legacy. Jon Michail Image Group International
Prediction We have several medal possibilities, but it will be a very big challenge for the team having lost Clay Stevens and Luke Watford who got a stress fracture of his leg.”
Legendary gymnastics coach, Vladimir Vatkin, was appointed as the Australian men’s gymnastics coach in 2006. Taking the team to Beijing, he took a break in 2010 to work with the Brazilian team and further expand his skills.
Now he is back as the Head Coach for 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games Gymnastics Team.
“Brazil was interesting and there is a lot of potential there, partly because of the number of kids doing gymnastics. In Australia, we have some great potential but lack the numbers at the moment. Australia has great State Centres and a world class National Centre for the athletes. I think we need more young coaches in Australian Gymnastics. We already have an excellent coach training program and with an increase in motivation, we can compete with the best in the world. If you watch the Olympic games, many of the athletes in Aerial Skiing and Skateboarding come from gymnastics. Sadly, gymnastics doesn’t get athletes from other sports.
Interview with Vladimir Vatkin
My tip to aspiring young coaches:
Don’t neglect the basics and aim as high as you can.
If you have good kids and systems, then you can achieve anything. It starts with burning desire then requires knowledge. I have made many mistakes over the years but at the time, they don’t feel like mistakes. It is only looking back that you realise that things could have been done better. So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you are trying hard and thinking hard, then your mistakes become part of the experience and you learn more from your defeats than your victories. www.coachinglife. com.au
What is Culture? â€œa central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learningâ€? Wikipedia.
By Kim Yabsley Culture is often thought of as an intangible web. In truth, while it represents a complex set of thoughts, patterns and perceptions, in collective tense, it is a dynamic phenomenon, as changeable as the individuals who inhabit it. To impact culture consciously (because letâ€™s face it, we are all impacting culture every day, its more a question of how than if, we are impacting the group), we must simplify the concept.
Human beings are hiving creatures, we take our social cues from those around us. So, if we want a shift in culture, within our teams, organisations, communities or industries, we must first look at how we are behaving currently, collectively, and explore what led us to this place.
Even where the initial source of tension is workload or resource related, it is highly likely that improved relationships and communication will result in decreased conflict, reduced stress and fewer links to leadership and workload/ resource related complaints.
An Integrated Approach
Culture can be viewed as the sum-total of relationships.
It is essential to organisational development to develop a rounded view by considering structural and process related impediments to optimal service delivery.
Therefore, when organisational issues are viewed in aggregate, almost always, dysfunctional culture has its foundations in relationship and communication breakdown.
If we want to genuinely improve culture, we must think about integrated solutions that result in integrated service delivery, exploring the following culture questions:
What are the real issues here? (this often requires an independent view, sometimes even a comprehensive analysis of surface level symptoms). Do we really want to know what people think/ how they feel? (FYI; if you answered no to this question, you are probably more interested in instruction than engagement). What adjustments can we realistically make? How significantly will these changes impact business as usual? What is the likelihood of short term escalation of issues and can we endure short term loss for long term gain (because true culture change is not an eggless omelette, things will almost always worsen before improvement looms. Page 9
How can we implement culture change initiatives to achieve the best value for money outcomes? How can we sustain positive change, understanding that culture is dynamic and changeable and that we will encounter challenges on the journey? What processes, structures, channels and mechanisms will we use to maintain and build on momentum so that in the future we see challenges as opportunities, using them to connect and collaborate to develop solutions? Here is where the rubber really hits the road. True culture change should be measured over the long term. How do we prepare so that challenges become a welcome opportunity for us to thrive, openings for individuals and the organisation to develop together? #winwin Of course, the end game answers the three central questions which represent the beginning, the middle and the end of all culture constructed puzzles;
1 2 3
How can we engage individuals to develop insight, take-action and contribute constructively to organisational outcomes? What do we need to do, change, improve or address at the organisational level to enable the above? How do we establish genuine two-way communication within our organisations, so that we listen, hear and respond effectively? These questions are the very key to inspired engagement and culture shift. They create the pathway for future focused solutions, an integrated approach, improved relationships and enhanced outcomes by forming the basic objectives of culture strategy.
The Challenge In Coaching for Culture Coaching for culture requires more than just the ability to deal with individuals.
The very precept of coaching is to allow the coachee to arrive at their own answer, in their own time, using their own innate wisdom and following their own chosen pathways. Managing that mysterious collaborative creation we call culture towards a robust and positive future state represents the opportunity for individuals to contribute to something greater than themselves, it is dependent on individual input while completely out of the grasp of individual control. While its innate to the human condition to want to contribute to something bigger than just ourselves, it is not uncommon to fear the outcome when we do not control the process. This requires engagement, collaboration and communication. It starts with individuals and it requires an ongoing commitment to evolution and grow that the group level because just like each of us individually, culture is a living, breathing, changeable beast that reflects the shadow and light that exists within each of its inhabitants.
The Great Culture Reveal There is a case for the tipping point, that “magic moment when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire” (Malcolm Gladwell) but as far as I can tell, creating (sometimes referred to as changing) and sustaining culture does not always rely on the collective efforts of a small few or a great many. The big secret to creating good vibes at work is YOU. Individuals are the key. We cannot control people or events outside of us but in managing our own thoughts we can regulate our own emotional reactions, choose and manage our behavioural responses, thereby creating our own experience and setting the tone for the type of culture we are willing to participate within.
You can create your experience by recognising your own neurological patterns and consciously enabling good culture. Yet in the words of Joseph Campbell “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek”. This is where the great divide at the source of most cultural issues originates.
Linking hearts and minds at the individual level for action and outcomes at the organisational level requires a synthesis of visionary and tactical inputs, of coaching and massaging group think. Of intention aligned with action. Of challenge and achievement. Of purpose, focus and alignment. A dance with no end. A house of cards perhaps, a symphony of one.
We want so much to ‘be the difference’, yet we do not trust ourselves, our ability, our efforts, our capability to achieve what we so want. Inside this inauthentic judgement of self, it is hard for us to trust others.
Small tweaks make a big difference when it comes to culture.
We begin to question the intent of those around us. We erode our own natural state of care and yield to the projectionary tactics that help us to avoid the vulnerability of uncertainty.
Cultures of Excellence offers a framework for culture change, for coaches, consultants and facilitators wanting to bring that something special to their clients.
Only the brightest of coaching sparks can light the flame that spreads the vibe.
Kim Yabsley As a leading consultant in the field of organisational development Kim has helped many organisations ‘future proof’ themselves through the development and implementation of strategic frameworks to manage change and develop resilient workforces. Kim has significant experience in various communications, organisational development and strategy roles across the public and private sectors and has assisted clients to identify and understand organisational gaps, develop tools to address these gaps and facilitate the implementation of tools to ensure sustained change in the workplace, measurable through business outcomes. Kim’s experience extends to, project
Kim is a highly competent
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I first started as a player-coach years ago. It was common then but not so much now. Lots of clubs, not just hockey clubs, would have an experienced player being the playercoach. There was a cut-off time that I finished my playing days and went and coached in Townsville, North Queensland. By coincidence, I met a young Robert Hammond who was just 12 and is now one of the assistant coaches under me as did our other assistant coach Anthony Potter. I then returned to Melbourne to become a Victorian Institute of Sport coach. That was a full-time elite coaching position. I was there for 4 years then spent 8 years in Perth with the National Program as Assistant Coach. From there I have had opportunities as head coach in Belgium and head coach in New Zealand, both going to the Olympic Games.
A lot of what they taught me and the way they coached still influences me today.
Ones to Watch
In terms of philosophy there is never one thing. You have to be very broad with how you assess things and learnings over time. You have to observe and listen well. Listening is a real skill. For a lot of European teams, the head coach is the main person, whereas in Australia, we set up the Head Coach as the person who is responsible, but they are more strongly influenced by the assistant coaches and team around them.
As a head coach you are responsible for the whole program, including the assistant coaches, sports psychologist and culture of the team. Currently we have Brian Fitzpatrick helping us with the culture side of things for the Kookaburras and has been a great mentor for me.
The commonwealth Games are always an exciting time, Australia When I became assistant coach in performs very well at the event, but Perth, I worked under Barry Dancer England will be well prepared. India is who went on to be head coach of the on the rise and New Zealand would Athens Gold medal team. He was a not be far behind them. Even South very good person to learn from and Africa and Pakistan can be dangerous have as a mentor. on the day.
By all accounts, I have had a blessed coaching career.
Top Tip Do it your own way. Get a lot of experience in different teams and clubs. While it is nice to be a player who has only played in one club, as a coach, if you can get an opportunity to coach in different cultures. Thatâ€™s what I did in Belgium and New Zealand. You learn a different way of training and a different way of playing and this can be very valuable information.
I played with the Kookaburras for most of the 1980â€™s and was influenced by Michael Craig, Jim Irvine and John Newitt.
Coaches do a hell of a lot of preparation behind the scenes and while the final presentation before the match might only be 20 minutes, all the hard work has been done beforehand. The preparing the team on the training field and finding that focus for the match. Page 12
Colin Batch Colin Batch was appointed Kookaburras coach in December 2016, joining with a wealth of international coaching experience having been head coach of the Belgium Red Lions (2010-2012) and New Zealand Black Sticks (2012-2016). Batch, who played 175 times for the Kookaburras between 1979 to 1990 including several years as vice-captain, was also a former assistant coach of Australia from 20012008 during which time the team won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. During Batchâ€™s playing career for Australia, he was a member of the gold medal winning team at the 1986 World Cup and twice a bronze medallist at the World Cups of 1982 and 1990. He came close to winning an Olympic medal, having been part of the fourth place finishing teams at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, while he also competed in 10 Champions Trophy tournaments.
MY COACHING JOURNEY I began my journey in high performance coaching over 25 years ago. I moved to Leongatha and was playing at an elite level as captain/coach at the local regional team. This peaked my interest in coaching, and that’s when I started to seek appointments in the Victoria system, particularly as a Victorian state coach, beginning by coaching the Victorian Under 16 Secondary Schools Team. I completed all of my coaching qualifications, and trained as a highperformance coach under Joyce Brown, who was Netball Australia’s coaching director at the time. It was with Joyce that I got my first taste of international coaching in 1994, serving as the Australian Netball Team’s apprentice coach. Page 14
I’ve maintained my passion for high performance coaching since then. I worked my way progressively up the Victorian coaching ladder, to lead the coaching team at the Melbourne Kestrels in the inaugural year of the National Netball League in 1997. I led the Melbourne Phoenix to back-to-back premierships in 2002 and 2003 and was part of the Adelaide Thunderbirds premiership winning team as assistant coach in 2010.
PEOPLE SKILLS The people that I work with are highly motivated and very switched on about what they want to achieve. It’s all within a team context as well. I really love working with teams and groups of people to achieve great outcomes and a shared goal. My skills as a teacher have helped me in so many ways, in the way that I communicate, how I organise, and the skills that I have in observing people. It has also provided me with the ability to deal with individual difference within a group setting.
These skills can be quite unique for teachers and it’s an area that coaches are often required to upskill in. Many industries now are expecting their leaders to become much more skilled in empowering the people that they work with. The leaders of the future will need to be focused on creating the next generation of leaders as well.
HOW I DEFINE SUCCESS Success in coaching at team is when people are able to put their individual wants and needs behind the needs of the team. It doesn’t matter what level you are coaching at, if you can get that buyin for ‘the team’ ahead of individual goals, then you are really getting something quite special. Interestingly, people also get a lot out of this individually. They learn about themselves and are challenged to have to work with others in a different way. It sometimes can be hard to get this through in a team setting, but it makes people feel good with others when they achieve as a group.
WHY ARE THE DIAMONDS SO CONSISTENTLY SUCCESFUL? It’s the system. The fact that we have such large participant numbers in netball across Australia. We have a very targeted athlete pathway for success right through to the top level. We have the world’s best coaches technically and tactically. We have the ability for coaches and selectors in our system to identify that talent from a young age.
The pressure that we put on ourselves is probably the hardest pressure that we deal with. It is because we are so hard on ourselves that we generally don’t focus on the pressure that comes from the outside. We have enough of it happening within our own team and the expectations of our own group.
We have great depth in our squads, that are really pushing everyone to perform well. You can never be truly comfortable in your position, as you have somebody always putting their hand up to take your spot, that’s really the key to it.
THE PRESSURES OF SUCCESS I do feel the pressures of maintaining success for the Diamonds, but this pressure helps me to be a better coach. Anyone that is involved in sport at the very highest level, is going to feel pressure no matter what. In fact, any coach of any level will experience pressure at some point in their career.
I use pressure as a driving force. I try and encourage our athletes and staff to do the same. If it was easy to achieve, everyone would do it. It is because it is hard to achieve that makes it so great. It’s such a privilege to work in high performance sport. That’s a part of the reason you accept the pressure, as a real honour and a privilege, to be able to represent your country. The bigger picture motivates you at the same time.
COACHING IN GREEN AND GOLD It’s fantastic for netball to be part of a multi-sport event. The Commonwealth Games is our only opportunity to experience this, and it only comes around once every four years. Being able to compete alongside other Australian teams and coaches is a honour. ‘Team Australia’ has its own unofficial support network. There’s that knowing glance to each other, saying ‘we know what you’re going through’. It’s a pretty special thing. It makes you feel better and stronger. It is an honour to represent the Australian Commonwealth Games team in netball, I will never take this for granted.
Lisa Alexander Australian Diamonds Head Coach Lisa Alexander has been at the helm of the team since August 2011. A qualified secondary physical education and mathematics teacher, she is guided by her unending quest for excellence and that there is always room for improvement.
Diving came along when I was 12years old and was a very different experience for me. I found myself challenged in new ways and became addicted to a fascinating and difficult sport even though I struggled at being good at it. Even as an aspiring sportsman, I knew that coaching was going to be my way forward. I started to coach diving at the age of 17 after seeing a good friend set up one of the UKâ€™s first professional diving training programmes in the north of the country. I packed everything I owned, left my family and friends and literally landed on the head coachâ€™s doorstep and asked to be involved.
By Adrian Hinchliffe
Most of my own early sporting achievement was in team sports such as Soccer and Street Hockey back in the UK.
I never looked back and the Head Coach, Andy Banks started mentoring me on my journey in coaching. He felt that I needed to return to education and I found myself at Leeds Metropolitan University studying sports science. Whilst in Leeds, I stumbled across an opportunity to start my own programme and embarked on an incredible journey which would span across five Olympic Games and ultimately some incredible results in Rio.
At the Olympic Games in Rio, I experienced the euphoria of seeing two of my athletes win Olympic medals. This felt like an end of an era in my coaching, so I searched out a new challenge and was lucky enough to be offered my current role with Diving Australia. Now I am based in Brisbane and am working with Maddison Keeney, Dominic Bedggood and Georgia Sheehan. This is just what I needed and I cannot wait to stand alongside them and the rest of Team Australia as we prepare to do battle on the Gold Coast. The Commonwealth Games Diving Team has a unique feel for me because of the people in it. Currently the team is headed up by returning Australian legend, Stephen Foley who is the General Manager for Performance Pathways. Steve was my boss back in the UK for eight years and provided me with enough opportunities to both fail and succeed to get me where I am today. In 1996 I was in the city of Montreal at a Fina Grand Prix event where I met both Chava Sobrino and Michel Larouche.
So many experiences stand out along the way, including developing a diving centre that dominated the British Diving scene for over a decade.
Chava was based in Sydney and Michel in Montreal at the time and they became very important as I developed over the next 20 odd years.
I also worked alongside some incredibly talented diving coaches and saw so many people succeed in a sport I love at so many different levels.
The inspiration gained from watching them succeed first hand on the world stage really helped me mould my coaching style that I exhibit today. Page 17
With the support from a panel of GB coaches back in the UK, I had a new level of confidence that helped me succeed with some of the best divers in the world.
Time and experience though has changed me in many ways. I have a family of my own now with fiancée Tandi and twin daughters Lydia and Lexie who constantly help me put my job and my coaching into perspective.
In a few weeks’ time I will stand on the poolside with Steve, Chava, Michel and Andy Banks as we back Australia’s elite at the Commonwealth Games. This will be a very memorable occasion to have so many of my mentors and friends all together in one team.
MY PHILOSOPHY My philosophy has been endlessly evolving during my coaching and continues to do so. I currently set out to take people on a journey of empowerment within sport, helping them to take responsibility for their development inside a world class training environment. People, Empowerment and Environment are my three key ingredients to success. I will constantly reflect on my efforts to make sure I am reminded that I am dealing with real people, with real emotions and their need to be communicated too effectively if I am to get the best out of them. I also hope to promote their accountability and responsibility in their training and performance behaviours so that they are the key driver in their team as they strive to be better. Lastly, I do all I can to make sure the daily training environment is upholding world class standards to the best of my ability against our competition. www.coachinglife. com.au
This philosophy is underpinned by my own key values; • • • • • • •
Work Hard Honesty Enjoyment Support Patience Respect PASSION
These continually shape who I am as a coach and more importantly remind me every day why I do what I do. My most important value here is Passion. I still have the same fire in my stomach to be a better coach as I had when I started out at the ripe old age of 17. This has never ever stopped.
As we all know, it is not what we do on the good days that counts; it is the bad days, the rough periods and the tough decisions that define us as we plod along helping our athletes. This can be emotionally draining at times. This exposes another key point in coaching.
We must look after ourselves in this profession. It can be a stressful and lonely world as an elite coach and the high-pressure occasions can sometimes get the better of us. ‘Self’ must be a concept that coaches consider as they learn how to perform to the best of their ability under the most extreme pressure. In my experience my personal fitness, continued professional development, my downtime, communication with my family and avenues to ‘rant’ have been key strategies to look after myself and in turn better support my divers during competition.
COACH PREDICTIONS The Australian Diving Team is a mix of experience and new comers. The usual suspects Melissa Wu, Maddi Keeney and Annabelle Smith will definitely be ones to watch to back up their previous Commonwealth and Olympic rostrum success.
Anna Rose, from Melbourne will also be in action alongside Britney O’Brien (Sydney) in the Women’s 10m synchro event with the hardest programme in the competition including a back three and a half somersaults in the tuck position.
Australia’s diving future looks to be in good hands. Stiff competition will be present in the pool from Canada, England, Scotland, Malaysia and Jamaica including a host of Commonwealth, World and Olympic medallist’s. Bring it on!
I am also keen to see what our up and coming junior talent has to offer as Commonwealth debutants Matthew Carter and Anna Rose Keating take to the stage. Matthew is a springboard diver based in Adelaide and has already shown his quality on the junior international circuit and gets an opportunity to go up against some fantastic opposition on the Gold Coast.
COACHING ADVICE If you are starting out in coaching I would advise the following; 1. EXPERIENCE COUNTS: Surround yourself with experience. Mentors in and out of your sport will be essential if you are to grow with your athletes and stay one step ahead of their development. Be passionate about your learning. 2. UNDERSTANDING YOUR ATHLETES: Get to know your athletes as much as you can. Your ability to understand them will assist you as you navigate them through the ups and downs of being really good at a sport. 3. FUN; Enjoy what you do. Coaching is a privilege and we should make sure we don’t under estimate the impact we have on young people. Teach them to enjoy their journeys in sport so that they can look back and truly understand the value sport has to offer. 4. REFLECTION: Continuously reflect. Keep recognising what you are good at, learn from your mistakes and always, always identify what is needed to get better tomorrow.
CL: Why did you transition into coaching?
CL: What is your philosophy on the game?
Paul: I played for 11 years for Australia and worked in teaching for a number of years but after a couple of years teaching, I missed the game and found myself wanting to be involved again.
Paul: The first thing is a personal approach and having a strong relationship and rapport with the athlete. Understanding that Hockey is the business, so that you can have straight conversations with the athletes, from a point of view on how we play.
I had a serious knee injury which affected my ability to play beyond 28 but I still wanted to get the buzz of being involved in a competitive sport can give and coaching seemed the obvious choice. Initially I started with the club point of view, then coaching the state team and finally being offered a position with the national team from Ric Charlesworth. CL: You mentioned Ric Charlesworth, were there any specific mentors that affected you coaching style? Paul: There have been many from when I was a player. Too many to go through individually but they all influenced me significantly. I do find myself repeating stuff from coaches that I learnt from State and National Coaches, so they definitely impacted my philosophy on the game.
I am very keen on making sure we have people who are versatile and flexible. You can play multiple roles and understand the game well. One of the hardest part of the games is getting good decision makers involved in team sports. Thatâ€™s an area that I really like to focus on, breaking down the game tactically but also recognising that we need people with skill as well to be successful. CL: What does an average day look like? We arrive at work at 6 am then finish off the team training session around 9:30. Then answering emails and planning meetings throughout the day and fitting in the 27 athletes that want your time. This has been really important to me, even being the head coach for the last year, giving more time to the athletes, whether it is a coffee catch up or a meeting to discuss how they are playing. This helps build the relationship with the person so that when we get to the business end, the pressure www.coachinglife. com.au
end, we have a depth of connection to help support the conversations. CL: Do you have any routines or rituals that you have for big events? There probably is, even if I donâ€™t realise I am doing them. I am a bit of a process freak. I will sit on the same seat on the bus on the way to and from matches. The way I setup the bench is always reasonably rigid and I think these little things help you calm down and focus on the job at hand.
Former Kookaburra Paul Gaudoin played 234 games for Australia across his 11-year career from 1994 until 2004, during which time he was the captain from 2001 until his retirement. Gaudoin was a key member of the 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams where the Kookaburras won bronze medals. During his time as a player, Gaudoin won Commonwealth Games gold in 1998 and competed at three World Cups, winning a bronze (1994) and a silver medal (2002). He also represented Australia at seven Champions Trophy tournaments Gaudoin began his coaching career in 2008, becoming a coach of the Kookaburras in 2010 where he worked his way up from an assistant coach to senior assistant coach role, including periods where he acted as interim head coach for the team. He took on the role as Hockeyroos head coach in late December, representing his maiden move in womenâ€™s hockey as the side rebuilds towards Tokyo 2020.
A Boxing Education Does an athlete learn to box or does a person that’s naturally proficient in a combat situation simply become an elite athlete, through a structured exercise programme, in a combat sport such as boxing? How then does a coach teach an athlete to box? A knowledgeable coach understands that different types of learning need to be employed when structuring an athlete development course in order for the learning to be as successful as possible. For example, practical workouts, alongside theory, personal reflection and evaluation. Also using a wide range of relevant principles of learning encourages athlete participation and interest. In general, the characteristics of different types of learning involve memory, understanding and doing. The act of ‘doing’ or performing a skill or technique helps the learner to understand and therefore aids memory retention. Two principles of learning that are particularly important in coaching practice are active learning and repetition which both involve doing and understanding.
Key features of activities employed in active learning are that they require boxers to move physically and constructively e.g. to represent patterns or steps in relation to their opponent or the flow of movements. Each athlete has a preference for how they receive and process information on an individual level. Visual learners prefer to see information, auditory learners like to hear information and kinaesthetic learners, i.e. those involved in sports, learn best when physically involved (touching, doing, feeling) with their learning. Kinaesthetic learners benefit the most from active-learning which is why a greater emphasis should be placed on active learning in the gym, pairing athletes together to take part in partner-work. Everyone can contribute effectively, regardless of literacy levels, and realise that hard work equals hard thinking.
Follow-up work benefits from both the degree of involvement and the clarity of thinking generated by the activity. Continual references can be made back to the athletes' actions and reactions during activity, using questions such as ‘Do you remember when …?’ and ‘How did it feel………?’ to focus the athlete’s thinking. The power of involvement in decision-making and role-play can also be surprising as the boxers develop a given situation when taking part in partner-work. A host of anecdotal evidence suggests that athletes remember far more when they have taken part in active learning. Active learning provides a most effective first layer of learning when beginning a topic or when first learning to interact with an opponent.
Only when coaches are able to reduce this overload, by pointing out to the boxer those stimuli which are important for the successful task completion are they being effective. This allows for a more rapid acquisition of the skill.
Remembering the sensations that produced the observable result allows the boxer to adapt actions on the next attempt. However, for improvement to take place the boxer also should be involved in self-criticism and analysis.
Unfortunately, there are generally not enough adequate verbal descriptions of the sensations experienced by the boxer, by which the coach can direct his learner's attention.
In the learning of a new skill, it is important to link the components of the new skill to that of all previously learned skills. These relationships, or basic movement patterns, significantly facilitate the boxer's interpretation of the new skill.
The private sensations (feelings) associated with movement are not readily communicable, especially as much of the processing of the information occurs at sub-cortical levels. This, therefore, presents quite a restriction on coaches as they are not always able to provide adequate feedback. It is for this reason that the use of video analysis can be a powerful tool, as it provides a means by which boxers can compare their own internal sensations with the visible results.
Furthermore, the important factors that attribute to the differences between skills are anatomical in nature, whereas the mechanics of the skills themselves are usually inextricably related. Movements can be greatly 'over learned' through many repetitions, but the "many rep" stage should be utilized only when the movement is being performed correctly.
Errors should never be perfected. Too much "wrong" repetition in the early stages will be harmful. The basics necessary to the performance of any new movement should be thoroughly over-learned before attempting it. Once the idea of the new movement is obtained, then many repetitions along the correct line will stabilize it. Thus, variations under stress (as in competition) do not result in a breakdown. Observation of most top-class boxers provides sufficient proof of this as compensate for minor errors during the execution of a skill. It is therefore to the boxer's advantage to learn the basics thoroughly and advance from one skill to another in a logical order of progression, gaining confidence along the way. Only with such confidence will the boxer be committed to the learning of new skills.
In the early learning stages, too many repetitions using the wrong technique (or an under-developed technique at that stage) may be more harmful than beneficial. Kevin Smith is the current National Head Coach for Boxing Australia at the AIS Combat Centre. An Englishman by birth, he has coached internationally as National Boxing Coach of Scotland, England Team Manager and coach, Olympic Coach for Nigeria, and as a Boxing High Performance Consultant to the Philippines. References Laird, D. 1985 Approaches to training and development AddisonWesley, Reading, Mass. McGill, I & Beaty, L 1995 Action Learning, second edition: a guide for professional, management and educational development Kogan Page, London. Page 23
Boxers take vital steps in building their framework of knowledge and in developing conceptual understanding. Over 25 years personal experience of using these activities suggests that they are not luxuries but essentials because they accelerate learning in the early stages of a boxer’s development. They enable boxers of all abilities (most obviously novice boxers) to overcome initial obstacles they might otherwise be afraid to attempt. Repetition is likewise a basic requisite when learning psychomotor skills such as those utilised by a boxer. It has often been said that practice makes perfect, however practice alone does not make perfect; it is, however, a pre-requisite of perfection. The legendary Cus D’Amato insisted that boxing is best learned through repetition.
However, simply devoting time to the learning of skills without differentiating between appropriate and inappropriate actions will not produce significant changes to the level of acquisition of these skills. The mental assimilation of motor skills is essentially the essence of learning boxing technique. A valid interpretation of these physical skills is a difficult requirement for the boxer at any level and entails the ability to conceptualize that which takes place in a physical manner, which requires that the boxer must be able to mentally "feel" any new movement in its entirety. A problem which arises in the learning of any new skill (or movement) is that many of the stimuli are internal and proprioceptive in nature. Just because a boxer may know what to do with regard to a new movement, doesn't mean that he or she can in fact do it correctly.
Errors should never be perfected
There is one enormous problem in getting the information from the boxer's mind to his/her body. The boxer’s only feedback is in terms of their own bodily sensations (feelings); i.e. it is kinesthetic in nature. It is one thing to understand the technical concepts involved in performing a punching movement, but quite another to put them into practice. This is where the teaching comes in. It is the coach’s job to effectively provide the necessary comments when differentiating between appropriate and inappropriate actions with regard to the learning of new movements. The boxer, when trying the movement for the first time, often suffers from what has been termed as 'information overload' i.e. too much is happening all at once.
Commonwealth Games 2022 Reverse Engineering Coaching
Success for the NEXT Commonwealth Games. By Wayne Goldsmith The attention of athletes, coaches, national sporting bodies, the media and the sporting public across the Commonwealth is about to turn towards the Commonwealth Games 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
What is the process a coach can put in place to help their athletes plan, prepare and ultimately perform when it really matters in a major international sporting event?
Is it the “lucky” coaches, athletes and teams who just happen to stumble onto a formula for success and everything miraculously comes together for them at the ‘Games?
Welcome to the world of Reverse Engineering Coaching.
Is it the fortunate coaches, athletes and teams who didn’t really win – it’s just that their opposition were unlucky and made some errors at the wrong time?
Final preparations are underway. Facilities are being painted, prepared and primed to look their best.
Major Events: Three Types of Thinking
Athletes and coaches are in the final stages of training – and about to commence their tapering and peaking phases in order to be in the best possible shape to compete in this year’s Games.
“Nothing we do guarantees success. We can’t guarantee success. What we aim to do as professionals is to increase the likelihood of success”. (Legend Australian Swimming Head Coach Don Talbot).
Yet, in training centres, swimming pools, courts, fields and gyms across the Commonwealth there are other athletes – other coaches – already looking ahead to the next Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Many athletes and coaches wish, hope and dream of success at a major international sporting event like the Commonwealth Games. However, wishes, hopes and dreams do not lead to medal winning performances without clear strategies and a focused preparation – that is, a preparation focused on the achievement of a world class performance under ‘Games conditions.
The question is, how do coaches plan for success for major events like the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and even the Olympic Games more than four years in advance?
Ask yourself one question, “Who is it that wins at major events and ‘Games?”
Or is it the coaches, athletes and teams who put in place a clear plan and strategy several years prior to the ‘Games and worked methodically, systematically and relentlessly to ensure every detail of that plan was put into action at the right time – and in the right way? Nothing guarantees success; however, coaches can increase the likelihood of success by applying the principles of Reverse Engineering Coaching in their long-term planning.
How Do Coaches Prepare for Success in Major International Sporting Events? There are coaches who consistently deliver outstanding results at major international sporting events – and others who find the ‘Games performance environment difficult and demanding and are constantly frustrated at their lack of ‘Games success. The question is – how do coaches prepare for success in major international sporting events? It often comes down to their overall planning and preparation philosophy and how they think about the challenge of winning in a ‘Games environment.
“Let’s do what we’ve always done”
“Let’s copy what the others are doing”
“Let’s dare to be different”
Likelihood of success: LOW
Likelihood of success: MODERATE
Likelihood of success: HIGH
The critical difference between participation level sport and high-performance sport is – change. Coaches who base their ‘Games plans and programs on what they’ve done in the past, are destined to fail. In an era where coaches can measure, monitor and analyse the techniques and methods of their opposition closely and accurately, relying on the “past” to determine the “future” is a thinking strategy doomed from the outset.
In high performance sport, copying kills. It is normal and natural to want to copy the best athletes, coaches and teams in your sport. The medal winners – the world record holders – the champions - set the agenda for the sport and because it is easier to copy and replicate than it is to create and innovate, most coaches choose to follow what their more successful competitors are doing. Occasionally, learning from another coach can spark some ideas and provide a new direction for your program, but ultimately winners in all walks of life and in all fields of endeavour are those who dare to be different, who do things differently and do different things.
Leaders do one thing: they lead. Coaches who consistently deliver medal winning performances at major events are the ones who are leading the introduction of new ideas, new techniques and new methods of planning, preparing and performing under the pressure of international sporting competition. They are the ones who look at what they’ve done in the past – only to learn from it and then to strive to improve on it. They don’t believe in the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They know that “if it ain’t broke, tear it down and look for new and better ways to do it”.
Reverse Engineering Coaching: How It Works. There are three basic Reverse Engineering Coaching techniques: Predicting Predicting is commonly used in “time” based sports such as track and field, swimming and cycling. It involves undertaking extensive research on the past 510 ‘Games cycles and examining
the rate of improvement in the sport every four years. For example, conventional wisdom held for many years that many swimming events would improve, i.e. the world record times would get faster, by approximately 2-3% per fouryear ‘Games cycle. This then led to many coaches and swimmers planning to produce a 2-3%
improvement from one ‘Games to the next using this “prediction” of future times as a guideline and framework to be reflected in their training, periodization, competition targets etc. etc.
Shaping Shaping is a Reverse Engineering Coaching technique more commonly used with team sports. Shaping quite literally means to “shape” the future of the sport through innovation, creativity, training techniques, revolutionary strategies, breakthrough equipment development etc.
It is taking the lead in the sport by finding leading edge techniques and strategies that may potentially give athletes, coaches and teams a winning advantage over their ‘Games competition. Ambushing (or Shadowing) Ambushing (or Shadowing) is the Reverse Engineering Coaching technique of closely observing, analysing, watching, measuring and studying your opposition and tracking their ideas, innovations, strategies etc. and in doing so developing strategies and techniques to counter them.
PROS OF THE TECHNIQUE Gives coaches, athletes and teams clear, tangible goals and targets to achieve. Provides measurable preparation and performance targets to underpin the structure of training cycles.
In many ways “Ambushing” is the opposite Reverse Engineering Coaching technique to “Shaping”. It relies on being able to closely and accurately track, monitor, measure and analyse the innovations and strategies being employed by the sport’s leading thinkers and performers and to be able to “counter” what they’re doing in ‘Games conditions.
CONS OF THE TECHNIQUE Does not allow for “Outliers”, i.e. exceptionally talented athletes and coaches to significantly change the standards in the sport. Relies on doing a lot of “homework” and having the skills, knowledge and ability to apply the learning from the “homework”, i.e. previous performance results to the achievement of future ‘Games success. Coaches need to be aware of any potential major changes in rules and regulations leading up to the ‘Games which may influence the accuracy and validity of the Prediction process.
Places coaches, athletes and teams in a “leadership” role in their sport. Provides innovative and creative coaches with the opportunity to gain a significant advantage over their opposition.
If the timing of the introduction of the new ideas, new strategies etc. is not managed intelligently and strategically, opposition coaches, athletes and teams may develop counter strategies to negate the advantages gained through the Shaping process. Relies on the coach and athletes to find new and better ways of doing things through a commitment to continuous improvement.
Allows coaches, athletes and teams to increase the likelihood of success by keeping a close track on the leading-edge thinking, strategies and practices in their sport.
Relies on the coach and athletes being able to clearly understand what it is the “Shapers” are doing and to be able to develop ways of countering the “Shapers” innovations.
Can provide coaches, athletes and teams with a winning advantage that can catch their opposition “off-guard”.
Basing a medal winning program on being able to counter what an opposition is doing is fraught with danger as the opposition may change their strategies, tactics etc. in the final stages of their ‘Games campaign.
Regardless of the Reverse Coaching Engineering technique used, it is essential that all coaches, athletes and teams wishing to succeed at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, commence the planning, preparation and execution before the 2018 Closing Ceremony has concluded.
They call a “vision” a “vision” because you can SEE it. Coaches who lead their sport forward do so by “seeing” clearly – with great detail – the future that they themselves will create. Once a coach – or a leader in any field of endeavour - can “see” the future, they can inspire others to also “see” the future.
Successful coaches need to be able to “sell” dreams and inspire athletes to “see” the intangible, to do “the unknown” in order to achieve the seemingly “impossible”.
It all begins with the coach’s ability and willingness to let go of the rituals, habits and traditions of the past and to change their thinking to seek new, smarter and more innovative ways of pursuing excellence in the future.
Success is a moving target – and for those coaches and athletes who pursue excellence and seek to win, it is essential to be committed to learning every day, to strive for continuous improvement and to embrace new and innovative ways of getting better – everyday – in everything they do.
Further Reading Belichick and Brady: Two Men, the Patriots, and How They Revolutionized Football Michael Holley, Hachette Books (2017) Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success Phil Jackson, Penguin Books, (2014). Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson and Michael Moritz (2016).
Wayne Goldsmith has been an influential figure in coach education for the past 25 years. He’s worked with professional, college and Olympic level athletes, coaches and teams in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Europe, Asia and throughout the Pacific.
In high performance sport, copying kills! The people who forge the future are those who’ve dreamed what’s possible and who work tirelessly and uncompromisingly towards it. Don’t seek best practice on the Internet, in books, at courses or in conferences. Become best practice – live best practice – by rigorously, honestly and continuously reflecting on your coaching and challenging yourself to get better at it.
Steve Glassonâ€™s Story For Steve Glasson OAM, national coach of the Australian bowls team, the process is everything. The 48-year-old former player took up the role of coach in 2011 and is arguably Australia's finest ever bowler, amassing over 100 titles, including 19 prized Australian championships and pioneering success abroad from more than 300 appearances for his country. As a former national and world No.1, Glasson knows a thing or two about success but won't have his squad of 17 able-bodied and para-sport squad bound by it ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where the external expectation on every single Australian athlete is two-fold.
And that's not to mention the athlete's expectation on themselves, which needs to be carefully managed in a team environment like bowls according to Glasson. "Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) ask us for our KPIs as to what we think is an achievable goal. It's not something I like to do because I think it's a bit of a guess to a certain extent," he said. "We supply an answer that we think is achievable but once we do that, with all due respect to the CGA and AIS, I basically put that out of mind.
"The last thing I want to be doing is communicating to our players that we have to win X amount of gold, X amount of silver and X amount of bronze medals because once you start doing that you're looking at the outcome rather than the process and that's not something I like to do. It complicates matters and places unnecessary stress and angst on people." Glasson is quietly confident that the body of work put in by his chargers both on and off the green. This has included multiple camps at the Broadbeach Bowls Club (the Games' host venue), one on one player meetings and an influx of feedback and data on their own and potential opposition's game from the Bowls Australia (BA) High Performance (HP) team will hold them in good stead.
Article by: Domenic Favata
PROCESS VS OUTCOME
"We've got 10 disciplines at the Games and I know that we sincerely have 10 genuine chances there. I certainly don't deny that," he said. "I'm a realist and a commonsense person, so you know along the way that it's impossible to fathom that we'll win 10 from 10. We're talking about sport here so there will be some bad luck and interferences along the way which will definitely compromise or have a significant influence on a result. "If that's ever to happen [10 from 10], well we'll have the biggest party we've ever seen!"
For the uninitiated, the depths to the role and influence of Australia's national bowls coach may be overlooked and almost likened to say the coach of a cricket team, where the coach is almost always undervalued. Despite Glasson viewing his role as a "lifestyle rather than a job," that lifestyle has asked of him more than any regular job has demanded. He spends a remarkable time away from home traveling the country on what is certainly not of the holiday nature and the regular rises before dawn would suggest as much.
Again, Glasson harps back to the 'process' and this is emphasised by the work he put in preGames, although extremely time-consuming, to meet with each of his squad members personally outside of the camps, including those who did not make the Games squad. "It's important to have kept them [players not selected] in our sights as well because obviously after the Games the whole Jackaroos squad reunites and we then push on to World Championships and whatever else," he said, "Obviously the priority is the Games... While we've had a lot of camps, those camps were quite hectic so to sit down with the individual athletes one-onone was impossible to say the least so that's why we did them.
"Just to catch up with them, see how they're going... Make sure they're on track with all their training and expectations specifically geared around the Games. "There's also an opportunity for many of them to bring their significant other with them as part of their support mechanism... So they're across what we're trying to achieve, how best they can support the athlete and also how they can manage the athlete from a personal point of view.
"There's a lot of excitement from families and nearest dearest for these athletes and the significant other takes charge of managing that side of things so there's not a constant interruption to the player." As for the Games itself, Glasson doesn't see his continual and heavy workload changing, which will entail everything from final motivational words on the bus on the way to the venue, to relaying immediate statistical feedback to players via the Bowls Australia High Performance team, to managing player downtime following events. An ongoing focus on a strong team culture has been received well by members of the playing squad, who constantly refer to their group as a 'family' and it is this personable touch that Glasson possesses that has Australia primed for a potential gold rush come April 5.
It's an almost whole-of-athlete focus from on-green performance to the role of their significant other in managing friends and family expectation which has further strengthened these family ties. "We all come into these roles with our own philosophy and vision. Over time, hopefully, you Page 31
grow as a person and a coach and you manipulate those philosophies and thoughts a little bit," he said. "I wouldn't say there's one coach or sport that inspires me. I think you take a lot of things from a lot of players. You fall back on your own experience as a player. You take all matter of learnings you get from different coaches. "Just the simple things like having the respect of the lockerroom, I think that's really important. I've very big on culture in the team. If you can have a really strong culture in the squad that helps generate results and it's worth shots in a match." As for what lies ahead, Glasson feels his role as coach brings with it successes of a different sort every day.
It goes back to his mantra of not being fixated on the outcome which while goes against the grain of the business of sport, has worked a treat during his time as coach. He's overseen Australia's best ever performance on home soil at the 2012 World Championships followed by the most successful World Championships campaign abroad in New Zealand four years later. With bowls very much a methodical and calculated sport, it's no surprise Glasson's approach has paid off and it's one he hopes has contributed to the growth of the person as well as the athlete. "I feel very privileged and honoured to not only work with a national sporting body but also such talented people," he said.
"To have the opportunity to obviously learn from them but also influence them in what they do and how they go about things. They're already extremely gifted when they come to us but having that opportunity to get them to grow, to learn, to become part of a united and successful team I think is wonderful. "There are times when we have to crack down on them and there are times when we can just give them a hug and a pat on the back. "But it's fabulous to see them achieve their goals... I know it sounds like pie in the sky stuff but I have a vision to see them become more worldly, more genuine... just better people for it so when they leave bowls I hope they'll look back and say we enjoyed success, we worked very hard for it, we were pushed and we've certainly grown as a people."
Steve Glasson OAM has presided over the Australian Jackaroos and Bowls Australia's HighPerformance contingents as the sport's National Coach since 2011. During his tenure he has led the squad to its best ever World Bowls Championships performance in 2012, which including a stunning five gold, two silver medal haul from eight disciplines, and followed up with the nation's best ever campaign abroad four years later, with a performance that included four gold, two silver and a bronze. This year, Glasson will lead his charges into his first Commonwealth Games campaign while at the helm. In his heyday, Glasson was unquestionable one of the sport's preeminent players, having won 19 national championships titles, including nine Australian Indoor Championships. He was the number one ranked player in Australia between 1997 and 2005. In 2004, Glasson solidified himself as the nation's first world singles champion, when he won the men's singles gold medal at the World Bowls Championship in Scotland.
Elite athletes spend 4 hours a day and 6 days a week training for 1 event that may last less than 10 seconds every 4 years.
How do they guarantee they are in the perfect state for competition at that time? Well… unfortunately for many they are not able to achieve anything like their personal best, for others, they outperform expectations. These athletes have trained and competed for years, it is those pressure situations like that of these upcoming Commonwealth Games and currently the Winter Olympics that really highlights the need for performance mindset coaching.
We marvel at the abilities and determination of these athletes to do what they do and to be honest, we are not designed to push the limits of mind and body to this extreme. Every time they step out to train or compete, they are pushing the limits of one of the basic fundamentals of the human mind… survival.
Not many understand that physical training is also training the mind… like learning to walk! Neural pathways create the ‘muscle memory’ from this physical repetition in the mind. Interesting to note, when athletes train, they train in a relaxed state and then when hey get to competition, the pressure can throw them into a stress response. This can tighten up muscles and all technique disappears, putting them at greater risk of injury and poor performances.
Athletes are spending $Billions for the latest sportswear and technical design for equipment that gives an athlete the edge in sport. Companies are capitalising on this need for the edge and consistency. Yet if the athlete is nervous before competition or during it, all the benefits of clothing and equipment become irrelevant.
You have done all the training and the body is in peak condition physically and nutritionally.
The athlete who wins on the day is the one who has the best balance of physical abilities and mental strength. At the elite level, when these international competitions take place, the physical aspect is done.
And that is not to mention the inner battle of self- belief… Are they good enough, is the training enough, how will the conditions be, will they be competitive, how will they perform on the day? And for extreme sports… will the next competition be my last ever? Page 31
Having worked with World Champions from many sports, I know that the best way to bring it all together on the day is to be relaxed. A great example is a Commonwealth Games sprinter just before his final at the State titles in February. I happened to bump into him in the shops between the semis and final. He was just too hyped and buzzing. I told him to slow his mind through the processes I taught him. The following day, I had a great message of thanks, as this made the difference in his performance. At the timing to write this article, he has become a 4-time National Champ and on his way the Commonwealth Games.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an U17 year old National 400m hurdles Champion. The nerves he suffered from had him physically sick, days out from an event. After a few sessions over a month, we had him running 3.9 seconds faster. That is close to a 9% reduction in time. Remember, he was already a National Champion and over 400m and his gain, due to the reduction in time, was a staggering 27.6 metres! You can see how dramatic nerves can be on performance and how managing nerves can be much more beneficial than any aerodynamic shoe! There are 13 fundamentals of the human mind that I have documented over the last 12 years in clinical practice and all of these are constantly in play. They are all survival mechanisms or emotional responses that are deeper than conscious thought and wishful thinking can get to. To access the deeper thoughts, to manage nerves and get into the perfect peak performance level when it counts, you need a way to bypass the conscious thinking and responses to those automatic conditioning responses created during training.
The level of arousal or adrenaline is critical for any athlete, some need to be relaxed, like shooters and others who need explosive reaction like sprinters, will need a different approach. www.coachinglife. com.au
A very simple and effective way to do this is to ‘project yourself’ into the future and live as much as that person with those traits as you can. You may think this is the ’fake it until you make it concept’.
It is really a great way to use the scientific principles of Neuro Plasticity to re-wire your brain to manage these competitions.
I remember the story of Natalia Cook and Kerri Pottharst (Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medal, beach volleyball) and how they wrote down and projected themselves into the future. They scripted a document in past tense and this was one of the tools that helped them to deal with the nerves. In their minds they had already won and therefore, they just relaxed into it.
Athletes need to take more of a big picture approach to the future and believe in themselves.
Too many athletes and their coaches work on being realistic, so they don’t disappoint. This has a reverse effect on mindset and performance at the deeper level where it counts. Having a greater purpose is another way to manage performance in these athletes. If they have a ‘Why’, as in why they want success, when the times get tough in competition, their mind goes beyond the now to inspire the future generations. A strong WHY can have a real ‘dig deeper’ mentality rather than ‘this hurts, I will stop now’.
A few Days ago, Aussie Scotty James won the Olympic Bronze medal. In his interview he spoke about inspiring the kids of the future, like he was as a 9-year old. He even commented at that age about snow-boarding against Shaun White, the best in the world at the time.
Standing next to Scotty in the Gold Medal position was Shawn White himself. The 4 Time Olympian and winner of 3 Olympic Gold Medals.
So, to you athletes and coaches in sport, business or life; the best thing you can do is project your ‘athletes/clients’ into the future.
Get the belief flowing and find a why.
Stuart Walter is the Secret behind 33 World Champions. He is a specialist in peak performance mindset and getting the best of the best ‘in the zone’ for the performance of their lives… when it counts. For the past 12 years, Stuart has served as a Peak Performance Mindset Specialist for elite athletes, business owners and individuals around Australia to be a better version of themselves. He is highly respected as an authority for developing systems and strategies for accelerated and lasting transformations. Hypnosis and NLP form the basis of most of Stuart’s work because they quickly get to the cause of the issue and simply rewire the brain for success. Stuart has directly impacted the lives of thousands of people with his individual programs, his published book ‘The Dear Diary Process’ and his talks, Nationally and Internationally. This success in the sporting field is now in great demand in the business sector and with similar results.
Here at Coaching Life Magazine (CLM), we are always on the lookout for the next Big innovation hot spots or the next new thing that is likely to have a major impact on the Coaching Industry. Late in 2017 we uncovered a real gem when CLM identified a Brisbane technology company that is flying under the radar, working on a new application specifically designed for Mentoring and Coaching.
A chance restaurant meeting… It pays to be active in your local community because it was through a connection at a local restaurant that CLM editor Stewart Fleming was introduced to Mentifi CoFounder Derek Morgan. The initial conversation was around Mentifi’s collaboration with Australian National University building out a mentoring platform to meet the needs of universities and their Alumni/Student and Peer to Peer mentoring programs. This conversation quickly led to “how can this cloud platform and mobile app be specifically designed to meet the needs of the Business, Executive and Sports Coaches?” Digging deeper in to the history of Mentifi and Hub3c the software development company behind the product, it became very clear there was something significant going on with this coaching application.
Collaboration on Coaching What became clear to CLM from our early investigation was that the CLM community has an opportunity to influence a coaching platform and how the product evolves moving forward so that you have access to best of breed technology purpose built for the specific coaching disciplines of business, executive, sports or life coaches. Taking a look at the history of the Hub3c you quickly uncover a software development company that is in touch with the realities of their client’s needs and a willingness to not only listen to feedback, they take action. www.coachinglife. com.au
A BRIEF HISTORY Hub3c founder Mike BeachyHead and business partner Derek Morgan both came from a strong advisory and sales background in financial services. This required complex consulting advise and mentoring clients through the investment process and coming to grips with all the complexity, goal setting, vision building and developing a client’s EQ as they handheld clients through the emotional roller coaster that comes with investing in volatile markets.
Through this customised development process, it became clear there was a very real need for a retail platform specifically designed for the cloud and productivity needs of small business. This resulted in the release to the B2B platform iPaaS Hub in 2016. iPaaS Hub is designed to help SME/SMB’s with simple turn-key solutions to help better connect, communicate and collaborate for more effective and productive results for managing contact, sales tracking and project management.
This led to Hub3c custom building its own software to manage the complex consulting relationships involved in delivering business risk and succession planning advice.
“It was the iPaaS Hub platform that Australian National University was looking at to solve their Mentoring program needs” says Derek Morgan. “When we looked at what ANU were trying to achieve, rather than get them to modify their process to fit with a B2B platform that had more features and functionality than they needed. We decided to build an application specifically to meet the needs of a mentoring or coaching program”. Derek went on to say that “when we first started developing Mentifi our focus was very much on Universities, education generally, corporate Executive Teams and HR departments. What became obvious to us after meeting CLM was the bigger impact we could have by partnering with experts in the coaching industry and helping coaches work with more clients to hit their goals.”
From these humble beginnings in 2012, clients started requesting custom built software using Hub3c Platform as a Service and Business Applications.
The outcome of this process is an application that is powerful, yet easy to use and ticks a lot of key considerations. For example: •
The account setup wizard can have you up and running in minutes
User accounts for coaches and clients are easy to setup with a simple walk through wizard
Where there are big goals that require a number of action items, you can create activities and link them to a goal with start, end and reminder dates, complete with automated follow-up. This gives you a history of actions taken to achieve the goal.
Clients can set their own goals or you can allocate goals as a coach
You get to monitor goal progress in real-time, making feedback and coaching calls more effective
There are Dashboards that update in real-time to keep everyone informed of how things are tracking.
You can easily track your client contact with inbuilt communication via instant messaging for individuals and groups, with voice and video call capability to be released in May.
Goals can be linked to Rewards to keep clients motivated and focused
FREE PRE-RELEASE ACCESS Whilst Mentifi is not being formally launched to the marketplace until June this year, Mentifi has agreed to provide Coaching Life Readers pre-release access. If you would like access to a Free account to trial the Mentifi application visit
www.CoachingLife.com.au/mentifi WHAT YOU SEE
WHAT THEY SEE
As a Martial Arts and Boxing coach for over thirty-five years, I know from experience the connection we as coaches can create with our athletes. This connection is true for all sports coaches but there is something about Combat that goes even deeper. Perhaps the connection is so unique because it is a combat sport, thereâ€™s no room for any pretence. Itâ€™s real. As such we have incredible potential to influence young peopleâ€™s lives in a way that can determine their life path. By virtue of the fact that we teach something kids WANT to participate in, as opposed to for example school teachers, who teach subjects they HAVE to participate in, we have entered their Value World, not because we are doing a better job than teachers, simply because we are teaching something they want to learn and we are in the place they want to be, the Gym or Dojo. Our sport is the medium that enables us to access their Value World. We need to maximise the opportunity we have. Sometimes the attraction of our sport alone is enough to do that. It creates the opportunity to engage and sustain their participation long enough to have a significant impact in the lives of these kids. However, as I'm sure you will agree, the sporting activity itself is not always enough to sustain their interest and commitment in the long term. www.coachinglife. com.au
In a recent survey I ran among combat coaches, most highlighted lack of consistency and resilience in their athletes as their biggest challenge as coaches.
For every 10 kids that walk into our gyms maybe one will follow a successful high-performance pathway. Ninety percent wont. It is these kids that I would like to talk about. What can we add to our sport delivery that will keep them stay involved and give them the undoubted life skills we are in the unique position to deliver?
A proportion of our athletes are competition focussed but for many of us who work with schools and parents, the medium of combat sport is often sought out to help young people develop life skills such as confidence and resilience, as well as basic motor skills, movement and fitness.
Depending on age most classes will incorporate some fun games, physical fitness and skills training. For many of the kids this will be enough to keep them there and indeed enough to develop the confidence and resilience they need for life. For those who need a bit more help what can we add to our sessions?
It was while working as a school counsellor many years ago that it fully dawned on me the true value of using pad work as a tool to break down defensive barriers, both physically and metaphorically! I discovered that giving my client a pair of boxing gloves, a little instruction on correct technique and holding a set of focus pads for them to punch, was a wonderfully effective way to level the playing field. Five minutes of hitting pads progressed our relationship much further than many hours of “talk” sessions. Giving them permission to punch something was like unplugging a gusher. All their defences came down. There were instant smiles and questions. We were on a joint mission!
Doing pads with a young person is such an incredibly powerful tool for connection and
developing relationships. Talk therapy does not work with kids, doing something is much better, hitting pads was the best, most effective tool I have ever used! It was many years later that I began to realise what it was about punching pads that created such a connection. I realised that for many adolescents it was the first conscious connection they made within themselves between their thinking and their physiology i.e. between their head and their body. This is the first step toward emotional regulation! Having spent some time working as a Child and Adolescent Psychologist in a clinical setting I have witnessed first hand how NOT having the ability to regulate emotions such as Anger and Anxiety, can escalate into self-destructive behaviour. That is why I am so passionate about early intervention and the influential role that combat sport coaches can play. IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE! All we need to do is give kids the information.
That is why I developed the CounterPunch program, to facilitate coaches to be able to maximise the connection they create and give them the tools they need to help give kids this information. That is why I believe that we as coaches can be the difference makers. The CounterPunch program combines Sports Psychology and Choice Theory, with Sports and Exercise science and Combat sport, to give coaches a structured systemised process that helps young people to get on track and reach their potential for happiness. It uses your best resource, the sport you teach, as the medium to teach kids how to Connect with themselves, Relate to those around them and Communicate effectively to enable them to realise their full potential and be happy and fulfilled. If you would like more information on the CounterPunch program go to www.counterpunch.com.au
Mercedas Taaffe-Cooper is a registered Psychologist (MSc Clinical Psych), a Sports and Exercise Science graduate (BSc) and International Boxing Coach with over thirty-five years of coaching experience. Born in Ireland, Mercedas’s initial involvement in sports was with kickboxing, in which she won both European and World Championships. She’s one of Ireland’s most successful coaches and has worked with boxers who’ve ranked top ten in the world. Mercedas moved to Australia in late 2006 and became a dual citizen in 2009. Passionate about connecting with and enabling people to reach their potential, Mercedas moved to the Northern Territory to work as a Child and Adolescent Psychologist. It was there she developed CounterPunch with the support of the Northern Territory Government (NTG). Mercedas moved to South Australia in 2015 and continues her work with CounterPunch as a private consultant and CEO of CounterPunch Pty Ltd. www.coachinglife. com.au
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How coaches can use personal branding to create value and a lasting legacy
This is the case study of a great coach. A man who reached fearlessly for his full potential, and even in tragic circumstances, is motivated to help others and leave a lasting contribution. This is also a story about coaching coaches. A necessary one, as I have found that the sharing of ideas and knowledge in this area is often lacking, or too closely guarded to be of use to others. So, what is really so different when it comes to coaching coaches? To start with, coaches are people who give. They give to those they coach, and they give to the teams and communities they belong to. Coaches give their time, their expertise, their hard work and their passion. Great athletes and teams of athletes, in turn, mirror their coaches’ giving attitude by giving their all to their sport. With all this focus on giving, you could be mistaken for thinking of coaching as behind-the-scenes work that does not need to be promoted. I would argue differently.
I know that the best way for a coach to benefit those they look after is through investing the same time and effort in developing their personal brand that they do their other skills and knowledge. Personal branding is a skill that can be learnt and used to benefit the self and others. So, what is it, really? You may think of branding as promotion, pure and simple. It is not. Though promotion is a part of a branding strategy, personal branding is so much more. Your personal brand, in essence, is your why? Why do you do what you do? Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
Put this way, you probably can see where I’m going with personal branding proving valuable for coaches. Coaches are people who educate, lead, and inspire. To do this, they must be people worth listening to and worth following. The best way they have to represent this, I have found, is through a lived personal brand.
“The seminar altered the way our coaches view the importance of their own personal brand image.”
Your personal brand is not a mask, it is not the highlights reel of your life, personality, or qualifications.
One man who leveraged his personal brand to the full, for the benefit of others, and who I am proud to know, is AFL great Neale Daniher.
Your personal brand is you - the real, authentic, living and breathing, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, you.
With a promising career marred by injury, Daniher was never one to let adversity get the better of him.
During his career, Daniher suffered several knee injuries, and underwent three knee reconstructions. Still, he was recognised as a star player, and it was Daniher’s understanding of the game that would propel him into a career in coaching. When Daniher finally did hang up his boots, he became an assistant coach for the Fremantle Football Club. From Fremantle, he made the exciting transition to senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club, remaining there for ten seasons from 1998 to 2007.
“We're told there's no hope, and we cannot accept that.” It was during Daniher’s time at Melbourne that I became his coach and mentor.
It was with great pride that I was on board to see him step into the role of general manager of the West Coast Eagles - certainly no mean feat, as careers after coaching (like careers after sport) are difficult to navigate. It is even rarer for former coaches to step into management positions. Sadly, Daniher’s physical health was to once again keep him from football. In 2013, Daniher stood down from his role, and in 2014, he announced the reason for his departure. Daniher had been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND). Ever since that day, Daniher has shown the same dedication and resolve in his fight against MND that he did in his football career.
In 2016 Daniher received a Member of the Order of Australia award for his service to the community and to his sport. Every day, at least two people are diagnosed with MND in Australia, and every day at least two Australians die as a result of the disease. The patterns of weakness and rate of progression vary from person to person, and while some people can live a long time with MND, the average life expectancy is 27 months from diagnosis. If Daniher finds these odds daunting, he doesn’t let it show. “We're told there's no hope, and we cannot accept that,” Daniher explains. “We cannot accept that there's no effective treatment or cure. We don't accept that. We need to find an answer.”
A GIVING MINDSET Even with such a great honour as the OAM bestowed upon him for his work, Daniher remained resolutely outwardly focused. He paid tribute to the efforts of the then small, volunteer-run, Cure for MND Foundation, and praised the work of the “freeze army” who support the foundation’s work “to cure, to care, and to make aware.” Daniher expressed his hope that by accepting this honour he would remind others diagnosed with MND “that they’re not alone” and called the AM “a recognition for the great support I've had from my family”.
A personal brand is not something you develop simply to benefit yourself, you develop it to also benefit others. A personal brand is of value not only in your day job - it is valuable for your life. I remember speaking to Daniher following a seminar I conducted on personal branding for AFL coaches, and its value in both these spheres. “The seminar altered the way our coaches view the importance of their own personal brand image and the effect it has on their ongoing personal and professional development,” he said. “I also believe this will enhance their lives on a personal level long after they depart the coaching world, and I have had feedback to that effect from our coaches.” Now, as Daniher uses his high profile to fight for MND research, funding, and education, he does so through his strong personal brand.
During his stellar AFL career, as a player, coach and manager, Daniher earned himself a platform and a voice. His personal brand is not shallow or self-promotional. It is authentic because it is born of his values and achievements. Daniher is a man who walks the talk. After a career characterised by giving (to his teammates, to the players he coached, to his sport, and of course to his family) Daniher triggered a response of giving in others. He does not use this for his own gain. Instead, Daniher encourages those who know him, who admire him, and are inspired by him, to give to others. Faced with a terrible diagnosis, Daniher chose not to let it defeat him. He has chosen not to be victimised, but to approach this new challenge in the same way he has faced many challenges before, courageously using his skills, expertise, and voice in a quest to build something better.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM When Daniher was coach at Melbourne, the club faced some challenging times. In the 2004 preseason, with the Demons struggling for membership, Daniher talked to the media. His well-remembered “sermons” soon earnt Daniher the nickname “The Reverend” and it was this new branding, coupled with some early season successes, that helped boost the club's membership and public profile. No doubt his inspired oratory also boosted player morale, but whether in the lockerrooms or in front of the camera, Daniher created and used his profile to benefit his team.
“AFL football is a billiondollar business with thousands of employees and I have strong evidence that the professionalism model works.” Personal branding is all about communication. Sometimes that communication is verbal (as it was with Daniher’s media appearances) but there has to be something more to a coach’s communication. Daniher had something to talk about (the brand of his team, their successes, their training) he crafted a platform and a voice (his own distinctive brand, his style of coaching and speaking) and that is what made his communication truly effective. As a natural leader, Daniher began the creation of his personal brand almost effortlessly, but as he told me all those years ago, it took time
and training before he realised just how important and powerful the projection of a professional image can be. “I now have the view that our prospects of success would be assured if we project the professionalism (at all times, on and off the field) that is right for our business,” Daniher said.
“AFL football is a billion-dollar business with thousands of employees and I have strong evidence that the professionalism model works.”
I would like to put it to you that personal branding is a business and life skill like any other. One that will serve you well, just as it did Daniher, and if you follow his model, one that you can in time use to serve others.
Personal branding is often seen as imperative for athletes who seek to attract or retain sponsorship, but less so for coaches in their behindthe-scenes roles. Jon Michail and his team at Image Group International partner with ambitious individuals to achieve breakthrough results with contrarian and disruptive ways to grow and monetise their personal and business brands. A veteran, multi-awardwinning coach and author with a Who’s Who clientele of executives, entrepreneurs and elite sportspeople, Jon is the CEO and Founder of Image Group International, an Australian-based corporate and personal brand image advisory that conducts transformational seminars, and one-on-one coaching in over four continents. He is recognised as Australasia’s No. 1 Image Coach.
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Who in the Commonwealth has the strongest mindset, the clearest why and, of course, the best coach to pull all this together.
Published on Mar 26, 2018
Who in the Commonwealth has the strongest mindset, the clearest why and, of course, the best coach to pull all this together.