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It is deeply satisfying to sit down with a coach and see the cogs turning in their head as they ponder a performance question.
Earlier this summer, Leaders’ Jimmy Worrall enjoyed that experience at first-hand when he sat down with our cover star Gareth Southgate, the Head Coach of the England men’s football team.
The theme was resilience and Southgate waded deep into his thoughts. “If we hadn’t had this conversation, I’d have said that ‘resilience’ was the trait,” he says when trying to define the qualities of resilient players. Instead he reaches for bravery, coolness under pressure, and a willingness to return to the fray despite setbacks.
England’s heartbreaking defeat at Euro 2020 will see the players’ resilience tested in the coming months, with the 2022 World Cup looming on the horizon. Here Southgate, whose reputation as a leader continues to grow, discusses resilience from a coach’s perspective.
Resilience is one of the traits that defines New Zealand’s All Blacks and Black Ferns, and, elsewhere in this edition, New Zealand Rugby’s Head of High Performance, Mike Anthony, explains why the players were well-placed to thrive despite the nation’s tough Covid restrictions.
We also spoke to Zach Brandon, the Mental Skills Coordinator of the Arizona Diamondbacks, about the importance of using players to shape his department’s provisions; Jayne Ellis, the Performance Director of British Wheelchair Basketball, who brings us inside one of para-sports most successful programmes; and Kim Wylie, the Global Director of People Development & Change at the online luxury fashion platform Farfetch, who uses neuroscience to tell us why people are resistant to change.
Finally, in a guest feature, Edd Vahid, the Academy Manager at English Premier League Southampton, harnesses the reputation of the club’s talent development pathway – a reputation he has helped to develop – to explore how teams can better provide support for youngsters in the full knowledge that their development will be non-linear.
Hopefully these pages will contain a morsel or two of inspiration for your next project or at least give you something interesting to mull over as we approach the end of 2021.
Stay safe and well.