A fantastic couple of weeks of learning and working with some very talented sportsmen/women and coaches alongside captains of industry.
I continue to learn many things, much of which I wish that I had been exposed to at a much earlier age.
Over the last week I have worked alongside the England under 17 Cricket team. They have been a revelation in how young people are able to achieve the highest standards of performance not only in their skill/technique and tactics but also in learning how to help one another, give and receive honest feedback, push themselves mentally, physically and achieve their goals. I watched everyone one of them go beyond what they believed was possible and come out smiling at the other end.
The week has been inspirational and hugely motivating for me. The dedication of the coaches I have been working with has been exceptional and forces you to raise your own game. It is rare that I am in an environment which has all the elements required for elite performance across the board.
The camp was broken down into two phases. Each phase although different in content follows a similar sequence, that of two days of skills training, one day of pressure training and then a day of testing. This theme of training has been a constant throughout all of the teaching I have done over the last 25 yrs. You must enable people to have a basic skill level and tactical understanding of the skill that you expect them to perform under pressure (skill training where you can make as many mistakes as you require to learn); you must then enable them to understand that skill in difficult circumstances so that they get to hone that skill and tactical knowledge even better (pressure training where the skill is put into practice). They are then tested in a situation as close to the real thing as possible (testing). If possible we have made the training they undergo more difficult than the real thing.
As an example to the dedication of these young men I have seen a number push themselves to the edge mentally, physically and not cut corners or give in. I have seen two of them have nosebleeds in a session and refuse to come off until they have finished the session. I have watched them undertake tests where they need to make a run on the last ball, hit the stumps or take a wicket and step up and do so. I have watched them face 90 miles an hour balls, be hit and step up to take the next ball without out murmur. A remarkable week.
I have also done some work recently with some professional rugby teams and I met an international rugby coach who exceeded my expectations, which were high in the first place. One aspect of my work with all the teams I come across is that we have to get players in any sport to take responsibility for their actions/behaviors on the pitch. If this is done well the team will have real leadership which I feel will in turn assist the team to stick to a game plan or adapt as necessary to the game situation they are in. PLAYER ACCOUNTABILITY
Sad to see Johnny Wilkinson leave international rugby, he is undoubtedly one of the most professional athletes in the World. An individual that truly pushed himself mentally and physically to attain the highest standards. I admire his ability to stay focused despite the injuries he sustained and media pressure. I am disappointed he was not able to finish his career with a flourish at the World cup. Please read below one of his statements of intent.
- Today you must do more than is required of you.
- Never think you have done enough or that your job is finished.
- There is always something that can be done. Something that can help to ensure victory.
- You can’t let others be responsible for getting you started.
- You must be a self-starter.
- You must process that spark or individual initiative that sets the leader apart from the led.
- Self-motivation is the key to being one step ahead of everyone else and standing head and shoulders above the crowd.
- Once you get going don’t stop.
- Always be on the look out for the chance to do something better.
- Never stop trying.
- Fill yourself with the warrior spirit and send that warrior into action.
The commercial leadership work has been very interesting. The need for resilient leadership next year will be significant. The crisis in the financial sectors has not really been understood and I think that a number of leaders will need to be extremely resilient not just now but for the foreseeable future. They will also need to ensure that their teams are also resilient.
My last day of work this year now finds me at a football club to watch the training and speak to a few players. Both of the young footballers I currently coach have been given contracts, one of which fly’s to Spain to start what will be a promising career.
I have just finished working with the club, head coach and Chief Executive, it was so refreshing to see a football team that has all of the building blocks in place, honesty to assess their current situation and know that they have the potential to move up to the next division if they tweak a few elements.
Next year starts with a bang, I am off to Bangladesh and India with the under 19 and the under 17 cricket teams respectively. It will be great to see them deal with difficult conditions and a tough environment. Following those visits, I will be back to the Middle East for some work with Britam.
The launch of BRS – Britam Recruitment Services will take place on the first of Jan. We hope to run the first courses in Feb to assist people to move into second careers and I have already been involved in getting people into placements in commercial businesses rather than the normal security roles.
I have also been involved in assisting people to prepare for various interviews of late and it is so pleasing to see them realise that they actually have all of the tools and skills necessary to get these demanding commercial roles. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year: Excellence is not a single act