Performance | 10.01.18

Leaders Performance Digest

Head-mounted electroencephalogram; NFL Rookie HCs; Sport’s New Years Resolution?; No Hunger in Paradise; Power; Tony the Dentist; Letting it Rest; OAP Olympics; Embracing Failure; Geeks > Jocks and more.

Happy New Year high performance digestives, here’s 2018’s first assortment of stimulating insights to keep you in the loop of what’s hot and what’s not in sport. So sit down, grab a cuppa and enjoy…

Refreshed? Ready to go? New Year, new you? Great to hear. Start off by putting those Amazon vouchers from your stocking to good use by adding some new stimulating reads to your bookshelf – Inc.com suggest these six, while the Washington Post recommends these eleven. Not enough time/too lazy to read? Check out Blinkist and they’ll to the reading for you.

5 questions, answered
My sports biz digest brother, James Emmett, starts off his ramblings like this. So here goes…

1.    What are Ford and Kings College London working on together? 

They’re analysing professional racing drivers against normal peasants like you and I to see what makes them tick. How? Using a head-mounted electroencephalogram, of course. Ford believes that mid-race analysis of a driver’s brain is “the next frontier in performance.” They could be on to something.

2.    How many of the 12 NFL playoff teams have rookie head coaches?
Eight. Messrs Tomlin, Payton, Rivera, Zimmer, Quinn, Pederson, McDermott and McVay. The lesson? That it may not be as risky as you think to back an ‘unproven’ coach. Premier League, take note.

3.    If elite sport had a new year’s resolution, what would it be?
A cultural overhaul, maybe? It’s been a somewhat traumatic year or few at the top of sport, with accusations of bullying, sexism, harassment and intimidation all in the mix. So, is there a need for change? Discuss…

4.    What do the Yehudi Menuhin School and Southampton FC have in common?
Well, apart from both organisations taking to the Leaders stage in the last two years (here and here) they are also incredibly passionate about the education and development of young talent.

5.    What’s the best way to spend 1hr 14min 39sec this week?
By watching BT Sport and Michael Calvin’s documentary, No Hunger in Paradise. Based on Michael’s award-winning book (one of many) the film explores football’s academy system and pitfalls that prevent young players developing into professionals. Absolutely superb.

No, not 50 Cent’s crime drama-thriller that I’m sure a lot of you are fans of like the marketing team here at Leaders HQ, but in fact the greatest darts player of all time, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Maybe the definition of ‘the man, the myth, the legend’, and he still divides opinion.

Google, Disney, Coca-Cola… Man City?
From one dominating force to another, Manchester City are leaving the rest of the Premier League trailing in their wake this season. They may as well be crowned champions now. But City Football Group (CFG) won’t stop at the EPL, on their quest to become the dominating force in the beautiful game.

Meanwhile, City club captain Vincent Kompany has bagged himself an MBA. Hitting the headlines for all the right reasons.

Dr. Pulis?
Not quite, but City’s gaffer described his trips to face Tony’s team in the midlands as like a trip to the dentists. But what’s it like to face the top teams in the EPL this season? Secrets and strengths revealed here.

On the topic of tactics, a top team in 2014 was Liverpool, who finished runners-up to the blue team from Manchester. One memorable result that season was the Reds’ 5-1 demolition of Arsenal at Anfield – Brendan Rodgers explains exactly how they did it.

Rest is history
Or so it seems? Phil Taylor needs to take a break after a long and arduous career. But is benching a player going to help or hinder their performance? Figuring out how much rest a player needs is the key.

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth mentioning how Microsoft are helping the Seahawks do exactly that – emphasising that the hard work pays off when it comes to recovery.

Avocado, rye-bread, eggs and bacon
‘That’s part of the 3,500 calorie diet of former world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury. His quest is to get down to under 18 stone (252lbs, 114kg etc.) for his next fight. His nutritionist, Greg Marriot, explains how he’s doing it…

As Greg says, ‘a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter’. Athletes are masters of thinking positively – but how can you intertwine these helpful habits into your routine? Here are three tips from successful athletes.

No I in team?
The team sports vs. individual sports is a conversation we’ve explored a number of times – but is there a difference between the psychological needs of team and individual sport athletes?

It’s a World Cup year, so psychological struggles is once again a hot topic in England. Pippa Grange is the woman tasked with building more resilience in the Three Lions camp. Good luck, Doc!

Pride comes before a fall
It can take a bit of Dutch courage to attempt to overcome failing, and falling for that matter. A group of physiotherapists from the Netherlands are combatting exactly that problem, and helping OAPs fall better and in turn look after their wellbeing.

Give youth a chance
I mentioned the 12 NFL coaches making a success of themselves earlier. Not all young, but most brining new ideas to the table. British football, as we know, is struggling to do the same. Sometimes tradition is the toughest opponent.


One for the artistic folk amongst you, some stunning snaps of sport from above.


Lance Armstrong’s podcast is a firm favourite of Leaders’ very own John Portch, and he recommends his chat with American World Cup ski racer and six-time Olympic medallist Bode Miller.

Want a learning culture?
Put this video on repeat.

Did virtual reality help England retain the Ashes down-under?
No. England lost 4-0. Nonetheless, they are using VR, and it seems that it may help them hit the sweet spot in the not too distant future.

Embrace failure
And learn from it. A lesson on reaching your potential from Eni Aluko

Geeks > jocks
How data ‘idiots’ took over the Houston Rockets and revolutionised basketball, and how it could impact other sports, too.

What are 3 brain technologies to watch in 2018?
Neural dust, thought-powered typing and mini-brains. Nope, I don’t have a scooby either.

13th December 2017

An early Merry Christmas from the team here at Leaders HQ. This is the last digest of 2017 (*sob*), but what a year it’s been, eh? Fear not, we’ll be drip feeding you content as you indulge in turkey and mulled wine during the next few weeks, so keep an eye on your inbox.

Before I forget, if you’re in and around London on Thursday 11 January we are hosting some New Year’s drinks at Six Storeys (11 Soho Square, W1D 3QE), with our partners Totum Sport. Get in touch with Saira for more details – hope to see you there!

Now, back to business…

Leadership under Fire
If you attended our Performance Summit in New York back in August, you’ll know the intriguing comparisons between high performance in firefighting and sport. Well, training for complex situations is just as important to the FDNY, as it is at the IFTC in Darlington, England.

The feedback from the firefighting session from the summit in New York was superb, but you wanted more. We listened – so here is a deeper dive into how the FDNY are tackling some of the deeper issues of being a world class firefighter…

Girl Power
What percentage of firefighters in the UK are female? Around 7%. Considering ‘women have a psychological advantage over men’, and the nature of the job, this number should probably be a lot higher. Nicola Hobbs, however, is leading the way and stopping both fires and goals.

Maybe Josiah Zayner, probably the world’s most well-known biohacker, could hack the male population to add a bit more grit to deal with high pressure situations?

Speaking of girl power, English teenage striker Ellie Brazil has swapped Birmingham for Florence (I mean, you would wouldn’t you?) to test and develop herself as a player, and person. Brava!

Sport du Soleil? 
Our good friends at Cirque look to be branching out, and we’re not surprised. With creativity, imagination and inventiveness in abundance, it’s in the organisation’s DNA.

Acrobats would get nowhere without collaborating with their colleagues. But is it a hindrance to creativity? Science apparently says it is – it’s near impossible to think outside the box when you’re in that very box with other people. If that makes sense…

Dutch Courage
If you or your athletes are brave enough stand up and take responsibility for their own performance, you’re winning half the battle. That’s according to legendary hockey coach Marc Lammers, who has shared his 11 tips to improve your organisation’s performance.

Starter for Ten Eleven
And here are 11 more thoughts for you – this time a list of questions that Google use to evaluate team managers. It’s their holy grail of leadership assessment.

Two fat ladies, 88
More numbers for you here…8 tough questions to ask about your company’s strategy, and 8 Things You Can Do To Increase Trust in The Workplace.

Out of the Blue
Some things just don’t look right, right? Norway have made the bold move to wearing blue, not red, at the Winter Olympics. Well, their speed skaters at least. The reason? It’s the fastest colour…I’m baffled too.

Two Kidney Transplants and a Buoyancy Suit
From ice to water, and a man who is the secret weapon of a team that will probably never change their famous all white strip. Terry Nelson is the inventor of the buoyancy suit that revolutionised the recovery of the Real Madrid players under the leadership of then manager, José Mourinho. Two kidney transplants, no less, gave him the inspiration.

Innovate to Elevate
Tactical periodisation has been one of the buzz phrases of 2017, after Eddie Jones credited the approach to much of England Rugby’s success. So who taught him the concept? Jose Mourinho? Nope, probably not who you think…

And while we’re feeling inventive, it’s always worthwhile remembering that you get knocked down a few times before you achieve success. Just ask Mike D’Antoni, the architect behind the NBA’s most popular style of offense.

Are there many innovators out there? Or is it just a case of one coach stealing ideas from another? That’s the opinion of Steve Kerr. Seems he’s a top coach, and a top stealer, then.

One coach who you’d suggest has been innovating this season is Brad Stevens. His Celtics team has no outright captain, and he doesn’t really believe in traditional positions either. Young star Jayson Tatum is reaping the rewards of this. So is there something to be said for the future of drafting?

But how many experts does it take to ruin a project? Be smart when you innovate, people.

Boys on Film
‘What is the coach of the future?’ is a common question in our world. What won’t be so common is to look at film studies students while recruiting your next coach, but it seems to be working for Martin Foyston in Norway.

And for the sport of the future? In terms of our friends across the pond, maybe the NBA has overtaken the NFL as America’s most popular sport. Discuss…

Pushy Parents
As a coach, you know you have a problem when you’re thinking more about how to deal with your young athlete’s parents more than the opposition. It’s not always as severe as a Lavar Ball scenario, but putting an emphasis on communication, trust and embedding the parents themselves into the team culture can make a huge different.

On the flipside, the way in which the parent approaches challenges with their children can be hugely impactful. Anxiety amongst young people is higher than ever, here is how parents should respond.

Coaches aren’t the only ones who suffer abuse from the side-line. Unfortunately, match officials (in English football at least) are subject to torrid mistreatment too. Both need to stop, now.


How’s this for high performance? Red Bull gives Fred and Vince wings of a different kind – rather them than me!


Have you heard what Apple announced as their app of the year recently? An app called ‘Calm’, which helps the user to ‘reduce anxiety, sleep better and feel happier’. I expect to see a very relaxed crowd in the audience at our next event.

Clocking off
It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned the ever growing trend of introducing nap time in the workplace. The trend is growing further…are you reading this Jimmy Worrall?

AVB goes AWOL 
It’s surely the first time that a football manager has switched a dugout for a racecar? Well, Mr. Villas-Boas has done just that.

Back for good?
Another comeback, but this time with a bit more hope and anticipation than ever. Welcome back, Tiger.

Welcome to Dortmund. Welcome to Football. 
This amazing initiative is giving refugees hope of integrating into communities.

29th November 2017

I hope our friends across the pond had a fun-filled Thanksgiving weekend? No nightmare dinners, I hope. Apart from the abundance of beer and turkey…

  • The Aussies have taken a well-deserved 1-0 lead over ‘The Poms’ in the ongoing Ashes series Down Under. An uphill battle already for Root and co., are they mentally tough enough to fight back? Are Smith’s boys already under England’s skin?
  • Meanwhile, England Rugby’s Aussie leader was named Coach of the Year and Jones’ boys beat the Wallabies, Argentina and Samoa to end another successful year – but is the newly formed co-captaincy deemed a success?
  • Kyrie and Celtics are killing it, Wentz is flying high with the Eagles and KDB is spearheading City’s pursuit of the EPL. All three are helping to execute the team’s strategies – but how? Easier said than done. Mind the gap.
  • Sport should be everyone’s game – that’s the powerful message behind Stonewall’s recent campaign. Whether it’s Mark, or Robbie, there should be no shame or hiding in the shadows for anybody.

Let Your Creative Juices Flow…

Adidas GamePlan A’s have unleashed their superb ‘Guide to Creativity’. From rising to a challenge, expressing yourself or finding the competitive edge, imagination is a key ingredient.

It can help in reverse too; there are hidden benefits to breaking a sweat, after all. Sport can make you a better creative, while it will also give you energy, provide clarity, reduce stress and improve your decision-making.

All that Jazz

It seems that the OKC Thunder leadership are being imaginative and learning from the x12 Grammy-winning Marsalis brothers and exploring how to transfer lessons of teamwork from harmonies to hoops. We approve here at LPI, unsurprisingly.

Will the Real Ricky Rubio, Please Stand Up?

From one Jazz to another, let’s switch from the Marsalis brothers to point guard Ricky Rubio (see what I did there?). If you’re a leader, make sure you let your athletes enjoy what they do. Make them feel wanted. Let them be themselves. And have a little fun along the way.

Family Business

Did Wynton and Branford compete like the Serena and Venus, Eli and Peyton and Vitali and Wladimir? Probably, it’s inevitable. But there’s ways to overcome sibling rivalry, and even use it to gain an advantage.

Empire State of Mind

On the topic of creativity, it appears Brian Cashman and the Yankees have a revolutionary approach in their search for a new manager, essentially using the Big Apple’s news and media to help with the vetting process. Ingenious? Well, if they can make it there…

Learning from Mistakes

Being Yankees GM for two decades means you won’t have made many errors, but Cashman will be the first to admit he learns from his mistakes. This is exactly what the leaders at the likes of Coca-Cola, Netflix and Amazon are endorsing, too. There is no learning without failing, there are no successes without setbacks.

Friend Zone

Mistakes were on the mind of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard this week too. The ‘Golden Generation’ were discussing why they didn’t live up to the hype when they pulled on the Three Lions jersey.

Gary Neville was part of the teams alongside Rio, Frank, Steven and co. He’s enjoyed a less-than-enjoyable managerial career to date, particularly with Valencia. But Los Che and their ‘band of rejects’ are rallying, and this sleeping Spanish giant has awoken.

Need for Speed

From new tactics to new talents, this is fascinating finale of a year in the life of speed learner, Max Deutsch. He attempted to master 12 expert skills in 12 months, ending with bidding to defeat chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. Surely not…? Read and see, it’s a long ’un but a good ’un.

Nice Brains Finish Last

Being kind, responsible and fair will help you lead a blissful life, right? Wrong. A new study suggests that those who put themselves first tend to be happier. No more Mr Nice Guy.

One Game Wonder

A young boy’s dream of a 20-year NFL career is common, but unfortunately unrealistic. Just ask these six men who are part of the elusive group of players with just one game to their name. Proud? Yes. Haunted? Sometimes.

…and don’t forget those unsung heroes who did make it, but rarely get the spotlight. Step forward Messrs Heyward and Jordan. 

The Science of Courage

We’re going to get a reputation for being Burnley and Dyche’s biggest fans here at Leaders – but hasn’t he done well? Whether its luck, or courage (or both) they’re upsetting the odds and the ‘big six’ as they go.

Practice Makes Perfect

Burnley aren’t reinventing the wheel. Why would they try? There’s one tactic that will always help your performance, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. Whether you’re defending corners on the pitch or making a free throw on the court, there’s no substitute for practice. 

Double Debut? It’s Snow Joke

Someone who’s practiced a fair bit in her time is Ester Ledecka. But not just at one sport like the EPL or NBA athletes. She in fact plans to become the first athlete to compete in both skiing and snowboarding at the Olympics.


Want to know how to intimidate people, bring them down to size, and just get in their heads? Denzel Washington is the man to learn from and his filmography is your playbook. There’s your movie night sorted.



King Eric is this week’s subject of James O’Briens ‘Unfiltered’ podcast, in which he explores the life and mind of an enigma, and finds out exactly what makes the former Manchester United icon tick.


Lion’s Den

Another podcast recommendation – find out what Sam Warburton’s most difficult task as captain of the Lions was in New Zealand earlier this year; listen from 21mins onwards in particular.

You’re a scientist, Harry!

Techniques and technology used in movie series such as Harry Potter are now being used by scientists to explore the brain in 3-D and perform “virtual dissection”. Spooky.

Right-Wing Thinking

David Wheeler plays wide in midfield for QPR, but that’s not the only type of wing in his life. Not your stereotypical footballer, he’s a political campaigner off the pitch, with a passion for British democracy.


Let your employees take napsit will improve productivity, motivation and performance.

…they’re better than sleeping pills, too. They don’t work as well as you think.

Cinderella story

Finding the balance of wellness and winning is tricky, but for sustained performance, the former must be taken seriously.

…but can stress actually improve performance? It’s probably a case-by-case basis, so make sure your environment suits your team.

Geek of the Week

Lorena Martin, then Lakers and now Mariners, swaps hoops for home runs in the pursuit of high performance.

A huge eStep forward

The Aussies have opened their first Esports High Performance Centre in Sydney, home of the LG Dire Wolves.

16th November 2017

Thanks to those who made the trip to London for last week’s Sport Performance Summit. It was our final event of 2017 and capped off another year of connecting, educating and hopefully inspiring you and your peers in the global performance community. We enjoyed every minute, and hope you did too.

Key insights from last week’s summit below…

Day 1 Takeaways: Planning is where the gold lies; there’s an ‘I’ in ‘cohesion’; psycho killers, Sean Dyche, and the Royal Ballet.

Day 2 Takeaways: The doping arms race; the ice cream happiness equation; nobody gives a sh*t; and why the price of success is always failure.

More of a visual learner? Fear not, we had that covered…
Now, back to what else has happened in the last 2 weeks…

Houston, we have a problem World Series!

At long last, the Astros have a World Series to their name. The players earned their rings (and grillzs…) for being the best on the field. Praise is also flowing to their staff too for being the best off the field, for their use of data and tech.

Speaking of which, it’s been a year since Sig Mejdal spoke of his personal story of baseball analytics – everyone loves a happy ending, right?

And it was chemistry, as well as data, that had a helping hand in creating their successful team and culture.

What can business learn from sport?

Tech played a big part in Houston’s success, but are there similarities between nerdy coders and elite athletes? Apparently so.

New era, same values

What’s the unsurprising similarity between leaders in sport and business? You guessed it: culture. And the new age of leaders at the likes of Uber, Microsoft and Google all see it as a critical driver.


Not quite the age of a nerdy coder, but young Sean McVay is setting his Rams team on the path to greatness. Self-determined, curious, challenging and relatable – I’m not sure the instant impact he’s had in Los Angeles will come as a surprise to anyone who has worked with him.

Get Lifted

Innovative educators, whether in sport of school, are vital in impacting upon the lives and potential of young talented people. Sean is challenging the norm in LA, and award-winning musician John Legend is encouraging teachers to become innovative change-makers in order to inspire the next wave of superstars, no matter what industry.

Young blood

Coach McVay got given his chance, and boy is he taking it. But what about the British football scene? What’s halting an influx of budding young coaches into the professional game? Jonny Foreigner? Nope. It’s a little more old school than that.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Not just a Dr. Pepper slogan but probably a question# that the powers-that-be should ask themselves when deliberating over these young coaching appointments.

Are owners taking the safe and easy option when it comes to the future leaders of their teams?

To achieve greatness, you must take risks. As the old saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you never take…

El Loco

It’s not just the young coaches that need to be trusted. It’s the players too. Considering the success of the Young Lions this summer, English appears to be on the rise. But it’s an Argentine, not a Brit, to whom we should be raising a glass in appreciation. Gracias Señor Bielsa.

Greek Style GOAT

Talking of young talent, there’s a future GOAT plying his trade in Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo – a mouthful to say, a handful to play against. It’s one hell of a rise to greatness for the young man from Athens, and he’s only just getting started…

But how do you spot greatness? And a bust? Apparently it can take as little as ten games to do so. Slow and steady definitely doesn’t win the race…

Brady or Bullsh*t?

From a potential great in Milwaukee, to a definite one in New England. TB12 has written a book on what has made him the player that he is. But the scientists are sceptical. Bioceramic sleepwear? Neutral ash? They’re not having it. Stick to touchdowns, not text, Mr. Brady.

No Captain Class?

Brady is one of the Patriots’ captains this season. But in New England’s largest city, Boston, the NBA’s Celtics have decided not to name a captain for the season.

An interesting decision. Sam Walker, 2017 Leaders speaker, suggests that they’ll need one to sustain success, but letting one emerge could be a cunning tactic too.

Meanwhile, Eric Dier was the latest England player to take the captain’s armband this week. Gareth Southgate’s choice baffled many, but was backed by Walker’s research and ideology.

Add fuel to the fire

Meanwhile, scientists do think they’ve found a new fuel to impact performance ‘unlike anything we’ve seen before’. It’s called Ketone. Ready, steady, go..!

Oh, Canada…

Though probably most renowned for dominating in curling and hockey from time to time, there is one event the Canadians are the undisputed world best at – beer miles. Cheers to that!

I’m not sure beer chugging will be an Olympic event any time soon, but what about esports? Maybe. Maybe not. But the IOC, in conjunction with Intel, seem to be flirting with the idea…


You may have noticed the NBA’s swish new Nike uniforms this season. But how does Nike design for an NBA athlete? Here’s how.


The Packers’ No.2, kicker Mason Crosby, has had many ups and a few downs in his NFL career. Hear exactly what lessons he’s learnt along the way

High A

At the Met Opera, a note so high, it’s never been sung before.

Zzzz, another International Break

Fear not, here’s a contentious topic to feed your appetite for club football: Who’s currently the best football team in the world?

Want to be a better leader?
Here’s three important lessons from extreme sport.

Robotic Revolution

How can we be as smart as machines? Brain implants, apparently.

1st November 2017

Arise, Sir Lewis..?

He divides opinion. But why? He’s the greatest British driver of all-time after his Mexico GP win at the weekend, and a knighthood could well be on the way. Still he rises…

Another brilliant British athlete is Toni Duggan – Lioness, FC Barcelona striker and as of this week the new cover star of Edition 14 of the Performance Journal. View the journal here, and enjoy pieces with Toni, the 76ers, Cruyff Football, England Women’s Rugby and more.

Rise and Shine

Another person (or in this case, club) on the rise is Watford FC. Chaos? No. Instability? No. Careful planning and a measured strategy has got them where they are, and Marco Silva is writing the next chapter.

Marco appears to be a good fit for the Hornets – but how do you get the right coach? And how much would you pay for the right manager?

Tottenham Hotspurs’ beloved manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has gained many plaudits for his approach since joining in 2014 too. Spurs are reaping the rewards, on and off the pitch.

Marco, and especially Mauricio, transformed the team when they started with their new clubs. But what drives change management? Data science, apparently. You’d better be ready.

But why would you even want to be a football manager? Liam Rosenior is now having reservations…

From La Masia to Murrayfield

Señor Guardiola also changed (and spent) a lot. Work-rate, energy and speed are three pillars of the Pep philosophy – and Gregor Townsend has been inspired to bring a bit of Spanish flair to Scottish rugby.

Return of the Jack

Jack-of-all-trades that is, or the versatile player if you will. Pep is helping them make a comeback, and every good team seems to have one. From Mascherano to Milner.

The Saracens Way

What can be more important than winning? Continuity and care, in all kinds of ways. And in the light of numerous leadership scandals, it’s refreshing to hear. They win a bit, too.

Hail, Alessandro!

Lewis, Toni and Marco always had potential (just like 10-year-old Alessandro, who has just signed for AS Roma). Million dollar question: How do you turn that prospective talent, into success?

Some other kids that have done alright recently are the Young Lions, becoming world champions at U20 and U17 level this year. The last English manager to win the English top tier back in the pre-Premier League days deserves a lot of credit. Who is he..?

Talking of potential talent. One of our favourite ever sessions involved Risa Steinberg, the fantastic Director of Dance at the world famous Juilliard School in New York (podcast here). They’re opening their first oversees campus in China.

Who wants to be 40% smarter?

Everyone, I’d imagine. Well, DARPA’s new headband is attempting to make it possible.

Monkey on ones…operating table?

From Huskies to Gorillas – the head physician of the University of Washington’s football programme was called upon to treat a female gorilla’s knee injury recently. Early reports suggest Jumoke could be placed on injury reserve for the remainder of the season.

Learning how to learn

Nearly half of MLB clubs have an Ivy League graduate as either general manager or president of baseball operations. That’s not a coincidence…

…but they tend to make mistakes, too. We’ve all heard about grit, and what a great trait it can be. But with young people in your organisation, it’s important they understand the reality.


Who’s the fastest footballer on the planet? Chances are, it could be Borneo FC winger Terens Puhiri. Blink and you’ll miss him. Meep meep!


Have you heard the secret to beating the All Blacks? Nope, me neither. But England Head Coach Eddie Jones is tapping up his players who went so close for the Lions in the summer in the hope of the Red Rose going one better in 2019.

What’s the 12-world definition of success?

Ask Sir Winston.

No regrets

Sometimes a past mistake is useful as a growth-op and sometimes it isn’t. The wisdom is in knowing the difference.

How can you predict future brain damage?

Study 700 pro fighters’ brains. Well, that’s what researchers are hoping will make the difference. 

What is talent and how can we get the best out of it – in ourselves and other people? 

Potential + time + opportunity – interference.

Burnley the Brave

‘You have to be willing to take a ball in the stomach or the face’

Why do you make so many terrible life choices?

Confirmation bias, that’s why.

Best debut season, ever?

Quite possibly. Atlanta United, or the Five Stripes, have enjoyed their first taste of MLS soccer.

18th October 2017

Why do we choke?

And how can you help prevent it? Dr Ellen Hendriksen has the answers. Behold the promise of no more missed field goals, penalties, putts, conversions or free throws…

How do we embrace pain?

You know it’s coming, no matter how good you are. In a high performance environment, you’re going to face discomfort at some point. Here’s how to blast past it and use it to succeed. No pain, no gain.


Can OCD have an effect on the decision-making process (DMP), and in turn the relationship between confidence and action? Dr Benedetto De Martino explores this theory…

…while there is more and more research going into psychological safety, which of course influences risk-taking, creativity and fear amongst other things. “There’s no team without trust”.

And while we’re on the subject, we bring you the take from your fellow Performance Institute members here and here.

Tell me a story…

No, really. Storytelling and narratives within organisations is said to improve motivation, responsibility, connections and buy-in. In every industry, it’s making an impact. And sport is no different.

From Tennessee Titan, to Oxford Doctor

Unfortunately when you see ‘neuroscience’ and ‘football’ in the same sentence, it’s usually a very damning statistic about an ever growing concern for the safety of the players. However, this is the extraordinary story of how Dr Myron Rolle, the former NFL safety, who went from scoring touchdowns to performing chordoma resections.

Meanwhile, it’s from football to bobsled for Adrian Adams. Is early specialisation a help or hindrance? Either way, if it doesn’t work out in one sport, it’s clear that that’s not the end of the road. Next up, Pyeongchang 2018…

But of course, it’s important to open up young people’s mind to new walks of life. And that’s exactly what former NFL player Shawne Merriman is doing with kids and NASCAR.

FC Mavericks

Most kids won’t make it in their dream sport. But some will. So how can teams foster their talent and give them the best chance to flourish? Mark Cuban thinks the MLS are doing it right, so he wants to recreate it in the NBA.

Wink wink, nudge nudge

Another doctor for you to go with Myron and Benedetto, a piece on Dr Richard Thaler to be precise – exploring the rise of behavioural economics and how it is influencing organisations.

Cheque mate

Another player, like Myron, who’s giving back is Deshaun Watson. Not only is he taking the NFL by storm, but he did something pretty remarkable with his first game cheque

Did Deshaun attend LA Galaxy’s Academy in his younger years I hear you ask? Unlikely, but his noble gesture suggests that he could have been, as the MLS team are working hard to developing not just fine athletes, but fine young men, too.

Nor-Way to Go!

Talking of cheques, the Norwegian FA have become the first national football association to offer equal pay to their male and female players. A step in the right direction.

Diego Dyche or Sean Simeone?

Meanwhile, Burnley FC are becoming quite the established Premier League club, and that is no small part down to their manager, Diego Simeone Sean Dyche. Identity, playing to strengths and self-belief is all part of the act, and he’s winning plenty of plaudits along the way.

…you can hear from Sean and many more senior leaders in the world of high performance at this year’s Performance Summit, 6-7 November in London. If you’re reading this, you’re a member, which means you’re invited. Get in touch if you’d like to attend.

Czech mate

Chmel Blsany. No, it’s not an anagram. It’s a tiny club in the Czech Republic. Like Burnley, they fought their way back to the summit of football. But unlike Burnley, they haven’t managed to sustain it. A startling reminder of how brutal and ruthless sport can be.

Mbappé who?

Worlds apart from Chmel Blsany, are AS Monaco. The current French champions, however, have sold all their prized assets. A season of mediocrity awaits? Not according to VP Vadim Vasilyev. Becoming sustainable and self-sufficient are just two of the reasons why…


Daniel Ricciardo, the Aussie prankster of Red Bull F1, was at it again this week. Note to Lewis, lock your phone…




“Her hair is like mine, can I be a referee?” was the question you may have heard if you were down at the Garforth Town AFC match last weekend. Yes, yes you can!



Client X

Following on from Mr Hamilton’s social media hack, it appears his former employees, McLaren, have revealed their innovative new invention: the Invincible Shield, which is made of future F1 materials.

Could Saracens win the Six Nations?

Well no, obviously. But if they were allowed to enter, maybe…

Food for thought

Meet USA Rugby League’s captain fantastic. Oh, and he’s an organic food entrepreneur, too.

Forget your beanbags…

Focus on strong core values to build an authentic, award-winning culture

What makes Google, Southwest Airlines and Ritz Carlton so successful?

It’s not what you think.

20th September 2017

We really are being spoilt with sport recently, aren’t we?

Where do I start…?

Self-confessed skinny man Chris Froome became the first person to win the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in that order.

The fans of Chris and Team Sky are worldwide, and one GM in Atlanta has taken particular notice of Sir Dave and co. (we’re definitely claiming an assist for this one…)

Seasons are back in full swing, none less so than the NFL, but how are the Navy SEALS helping the Falcons build resilience after their SB51 heartbreak? All that and more, including historic debuts for coaches Joseph and Lynn, amongst many others.

We also raised a glass to Sloane Stephens, as well as Uncle Toni’s nephew, Rafael, after their US Open triumphs

Meanwhile, record breaking Teddy Riner won his 128th successive match and consequently his eighth world title.

So many stories, so little time. But here goes…

Short term memory loss

Señor Nadal, and the great players of the past, don’t let what has happened affect what is happening next. How can you tell? Watch a point after a long rally…

Believe YuMi

This 84pound bot just conducted an Italian orchestra. If robots can lead musicians, can they lead athletes? Watch your backs people…

Have-not America

Do kids get asked enough questions? Phil Mickelson does, but what about the sports that they want to play? Well, that’s the case in Baltimore. And Project Play are going to do something about it.

You can’t win anything with kids…

Meanwhile, this side of the pond, Jamie Vardy’s new academy is giving youngsters a second chance at making a way in the game. And the project is already bearing fruit

Maybe if there were more scouting prodigies like Joe Shields, then less English talent would slip through the proverbial net. There’s certainly very little room at the Huddersfield Inn these days.

And let’s not get started on managerial recruitment, just ask Crystal Palace (or don’t, we mentioned it once but I think we got away with it…).

But are the youth of today too impatient? *Millennial content alert*. Monsieur Deschamps seems to think so, and he’s won a thing or two in his career as a youngster, and a veteran.

…and who predicted Didier’s former teammate Zinedine Zidane would be as good a coach as he was player? Maybe that’s an overstatement, but he’s not had a bad start. Maybe it has something to do with Real Madrid’s change in philosophy since the playing days of Zizou and co.?

A statistic has never made a save, or scored a goal

But that doesn’t mean analytics doesn’t work in football. It just makes it more impactful when you get it right.

…and how are they dealing with data Down Under?

New-age analysts are forever trying to win over the old school thinkers. But how do you change minds and influence people’s behaviour? Here’s how.

El Capitan

Not Didier or Zinedine again, but a canyon in California in fact. Alex Honnold is the first person to climb it solo, and without a rope. Why, I hear you ask? Well, it could well be sport’s ultimate feat…

…but Mark Beaumont might have something to say about that. He’s just smashed the world record for cycling around the world. Incredibly he did it in 79 days, beating the previous record by 44 days.

Hit the reset button

Would resetting world records every decade reinvigorate sport? Malcolm Gladwell seems to think it could…

To give a different meaning to resetting, Billy Vunipola and co. could do with retuning his body after nine long months of gruelling rugby. Could a player strike be on the cards? Maybe…

Pond hopping

The 76ers have recruited an abundance of young talent, now they have to fit it together. And they’re using Europe as part of their strategy. Meanwhile in football, some young Brits have gone the other way and decided to ply their trade stateside.

German efficiency

There’s an evolution going on in Philadelphia, and one man who knows about going through change is Oliver Bierhoff, who completely transformed German football culture both on and off the field. He shares lessons on culture, excellence, leadership, start-up mentality and more.

…and another sport they’re attempting to conquer is cricket – they’re the world’s fastest growing nation in the sport. Germany is no doubt a footballing country, but cricket is quickly making its way up the batting order.


You’ve probably seen this, but here is the regular training routine of Olympic skier Andri Ragettli. That’s your team’s Thursday morning session sorted then. You’re welcome…




Have you heard what Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski thinks about modern day football? Here’s an honest assessment.



Billionaire or athlete?

Either way, here’s why and how both perform at the highest level

Emotional intelligence

What is it? Why do you need it?

Your brain is your phone

They’re changing how we think, because they’re already a part of how we think

When are you growing?

When you’re uncomfortable. And here’s why.

6th September 2017

Football is back II!

It was European football three weeks ago, and now it’s the turn of American football to return to our lives – and it’s about time!

Is Aaron Rodgers better than we think? Maybe (especially with his splendid new moustache). But is Marcus Mariota A-Rod’s successor? Possibly.

What’s life like after football? Do you become a Baller like Spencer Strasmore? Nope, just ask Michael Strahan or Patrick Kerney.

Who loves an underdog? Howard Bison Football certainly do.

Need some bouncebackability? Just ask Jake and Julian.

Carbs, corner-kicks and caffeine

Back to the real football 😉 and player’s diets have come a long way since the giant bowls of pre-game pasta. The latest game changer? Beetroot and coffee apparently.

Unfortunately, it’s not the footballers who are living on the breadline that make the back pages. Late payments, job insecurity and inequality are not just food for thought.

But worth remembering that football is far more than just a game.

Concussion breakthrough?

The rising health concerns around concussion have been well documented within the NFL, with the league consequently dedicating to more resource and research in the area – but could the University of Birmingham’s new findings to be tested in rugby be the answer?

But as we know, head injury and chronic brain damage is complicated – in pro athletes, and in high school.

…while we’re talking about the brain

How is neuroscience helping us to understand emotional pain?

Is the nature vs. nurture debate finally over? It could well be.

Learning takes brain acrobatics

Do you even machine learn, bro? Probably, and it can teach us a lot about psychology.

Decisions, decisions…

From machine learning to its very similar big brother artificial intelligence, the latter is now being used and implemented to aid the decision-making of top military leaders.

A recent survey actually revealed that 81% of execs believed that ‘data should be at the heart of all decision-making’. Move over gut feeling…

Let’s hope these leaders are sleeping well at night, because a lack can lead to making riskier calls.

Here’s a brief overview from the experts at Imperial College London and MIT on how to approach making big decisions.

The Art of Leadership

We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. Comparing performing arts and sport is a goldmine for lessons and learnings – so once again, what can it teach us about understanding trust, buy in, audience and expectations?

What do organisations with a high performance culture do differently?

  1. Implement an effective performance management system
  2. Creating empowerment and authority
  3. Improving leadership capability across all levels

…and more. Take a look.

Oh, and be reflective. Of yourself, and your environment.

Rich-what? Richmond!

No this isn’t a throwback to Coach Carter back in 2005. This is a back to basics story that may be the winning formula for the AFL’s Tigers this year.

…and while we’re Down Under and talking footy, GWS are turning to high performance specs to aid their pursuit of the ‘holy grail’, aka better decision-making.


Inspiration doesn’t always come from where you would expect it to, just ask Jack Dorsey. A book about painting inspired him in his youth, and taught him some valuable lessons about valuing your work, not worrying about rejection and having a sense of purpose.

While you’re at it, add these leadership and management reads to your book shelf this month.


For those of you who weren’t at the home of the NBPA in NYC last week – all the sessions are now online. Enjoy insights from the FDNY, Brooklyn Nets, Scotland Rugby, UPS, West Point and more.


Want to spark your entrepreneurial and creative spirit? Here are 25 podcasts to whet your appetite.

How long would it take you to earn a star player’s salary?

Food for thought. *Sigh*

A bold declaration

It’s just not cricket.

Want to be more resilient?

  1. Get to know yourself better.
  2. Think of happy thoughts.

5minutes with…

Sparky, or Stephen Park, the new Performance Director of British Cycling

Players Elite

QPR have got a helping hand on managing and identifying young talent.

Let’s talk millennials. Again…

Why do they make more effective leaders?

Do you need a title to lead? Nope. 

Positional Sense

A longer read (about 45mins) on how Pep Guardiola struggled first time round

16th August 2017

Football is back!
And how! It was a stunning start to the new season with goals flying in left, right and centre throughout the leagues across Europe. Whether it’s Jermaine Pennant’s new chapter in Essex, the noble gesture of Juan inspiring Spaniard, or the tactical nous of Sarina Wiegman’s women who caught the attention of some 5.5million Dutch men, women and children – it’s hard escape the football fever…

It has of course been a record-breaking transfer window. Neymar Jr. was of course the most expensive deal, but in second place was Romelu Lukaku’s move to Man Utd – but was it value for money for the Toffees?

There will also be a managerial merry-go-round soon no doubt too – but who’s the most influential coach in world football?

Finally, the award for most pointless new rule of the season goes to…

Cyber scouting
What do you look for when recruiting top talent? Goals, points, touchdowns, aces, tries and runs? Oh, and body language and social media of course.

A Beautiful Mind
We’re no strangers to a left-field approach or two, and when we’ve mixed musicians and athletes on stage the insights have been fascinating. Here are some more from a discussion between a group of classical musicians (and recent speaker Dan Lerner, session here) exploring what musicians can teach us about imagination?

Google Search: What traits do you need to be an effective boss?
Following on from last week, they might have the answer to this too. 6 key attributes here.

…and in light of the well document sacking of an engineer at Google HQ, here’s what neuroscience can tell us about diversity.

Gone in 9.58secs…
Mo and Usain finished their glittering careers on the track in London last week. It wasn’t the fairy-tale ending for the twosome, but a dream did come true for one racer who got to meet his idol. There was a final lesson from the fastest man over 100m too – hard work pays off.

…it also turns out Usain’s is not just a Manchester United fan, he’s a Carlow GAA fan too.

The World Championships wasn’t just all about Usain and Mo, as the largest ever biomechanics project in the sport’s history took place too.

Peak Performance
From 9.58secs to 139days, here’s a podcast with Colin O’Brady, the explorer who incredibly achieved the feat of becoming the youngest person ever to…

El maestro
Colin expertly executed a game plan for his monumental achievement. Another man who did just that was the now evergreen Sergio Garcia who of course won the first major of his career back in April – this is how he did it.

Athletes like Sergio are racking more and more air miles throughout the year these days. That’s why we discussed ‘Travel Nutrition and Hydration Strategies’ during our latest Virtual Roundtable. Here is what the likes of Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Hendrick Motorsport, USOC, Canada Basketball and Totum Sport had to say.

Diversity of Knowledge
Do athletes specialise too soon? Maybe. It seems this university in Berlin think their students do too, so they’re pushing them to think ‘out of the box’.

The Science of Bull***t
Although the German educators above are pushing good research on their students, there is apparently a lot of ‘scientific bullshit’ out there. Keep you standards high ladies and gents.

…but as we know, science has done an awful lot for this world (understatement of the day?) – So here are 10 steps backed by science to make your kids, or youth players, smarter.

Changing the Game
It’s a work in progress, but football is tackling homophobia in a bid to kick it into touch for good. ‘Football isn’t perfect, but neither is society’. There is more work to do, but it’s certainly heading in the right direction.


Leaders’ sports biz content mogul and cricket fanatic Bobby Clayton returns to the Performance Digest once again, this time bringing this ‘on drive over long on’ from the Phillies’ Odubel Herrara to my attention. Six runs!

…and Sergio Garcia’s fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm found himself in spot of bother during the PGA Championship last weekend. If you haven’t seen this shot, you should. It’s remarkable.


Behavioural ecologist Dr. Andrew King spoke at our London summit last year, and here he is exploring 21st Century Leadership at TEDxSwansea.

Want to be a good leader? 
Then you’ve got to become a good learner, too.

Want to be a portable leader? 
Get ready to hunt and explore.

Want to get the most out of your team?
Make their work more meaningful.

Don’t like criticism? 
Nobody really does, but here’s how to use negativity to your advantage.

No pain, Mo Gain
Thank you, Sir Mo. Smile.

2nd August 2017

Here come the girls
The England age-group football teams have had a successful summer so far, and the senior women’s team march into the semi-finals of the ongoing European Championships following their victory over France. The Lionesses follow in the footsteps of Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Jordanne Whiley at Wimbledon; Heather Knight and her cricketing teammates at Lords; and Hannah Cockroft and Georgina Hermitage at the World Para Athletic Championships. It’s been a golden summer for women’s sport here in England – and there’s one way to make sure it’s given the profile it deserves: be better than the men.

Jodie Taylor has been the star of the show so far for England, who’s ‘obsession with scoring goals’ is reaping dividends. The Women’s Rugby World Cup is up next, and the world champion Red Roses have been preparing for every scenario at a disaster response boot camp.

They’ll be hoping for no crisis next month, and we sat down with England captain and reigning world player of the year Sarah Hunter to discuss how she and her teammates are preparing to retain their crown.

Great Expectations
Some spout the idea that women’s sport is inferior to men’s despite evidence to the contrary.
However, is there a skills gap in the business world? Or are the expectations of available talent simply too high? Maybe. Just maybe…

Google Search: What traits do you need to build a winning team?
If only Google held the answer to this one. Actually, they might.

And could a business expert help a dysfunctional college hockey team? You betcha.

… and while we’re at it, here are some thoughts from Simon Sinek and Adam Grant on workplace culture and employee-driven business models.

Feel old?
Talking of untapped talent, is Shane Kluivert, son of former Dutch striker and current PSG Sporting Director Patrick, the first nine-year-old to sign a boot deal? Maybe.*Sigh*

Still feel old?
Not quite nine, but at 22, Adam Peaty has already got 16 gold medals around his neck and has broken his own world record numerous times. How? Because he’s no good at anything else. But he’s good at the breaststroke, mind. Best ever? No doubt about it.

Race against time
From budding young athletes, to budding young sports, Roborace is the newest motorsport in town..

And now for something completely different… 
Forest Green Rovers are preparing to make their English Football League debut this weekend. Based in Nailsworth – a town with a population of just 6,000 – they pride themselves on being different, and from the lawn mower to the players’ diets, the ingredients are all there to build from strength to strength. Move over Plymouth, this is the real Green Army.

Last chance for U
Of course, Rovers aren’t alone in preparing the new season ahead. From football to, erm, football, the NFL teams are back in camp and raring to go. For some it’s the player’s last chance to stake a claim to be part of their coach’s roster, but is pre-season becoming a pointless activity?

College teams are back too, as is the Netflix series ‘Last Chance U’, which itself offers numerous cultural lessons – no least about the eco-system of big time college football. Credit to Director Greg Whiteley and everybody’s favourite school counsellor, Brittany Wagner.

110 NFL Brains
And what’s new this season? Firstly, medical examination tents will be a feature on the side-lines. It’s welcome news, just ask Dr Ann McKee..


Are Chelsea FC the best networkers in all of football? Maybe. They’ve definitely cast their net far and wide, and have sent their players out on loan to a total of 87 clubs in the last five seasons.


Following the piece earlier from Dr. Ann McKee and the NY Times, here are some thoughts from former NFL QB, Troy Aikman, on Lance Armstrong’s latest podcast.

Who likes a good reading list?
We do. Here are 15 reads on Leadership and Personal Development.

Who likes a good swimming pool?
Who doesn’t? And this one is very good indeed. LSU students, we envy you.

Are you a perfectionist?
If not, click here. But here are nine reasons why you probably are…

Remember NYT best-selling author Simon Sinek from earlier…?
Well here are some of his views on leadership, motivation and the power of ‘Why’

19th July 2017

The UK is buzzing with sport at the moment, with the Women’s Cricket World Cup still underway on English shores and golf’s Open Championship set to take up Wimbledon’s slack at Royal Birkdale this weekend. Who will lift the Claret Jug this year? Here at the LPI, I’m plumping for Justin Rose; John fancies Dustin Johnson; Tom tips Rickie Fowler; Alex has picked local hero Tommy Fleetwood on his home course; Saira supports Rory McIlroy’s efforts to get back on the majors trail; and Luke suspects it may be the young Jon Rahm dominating on the back nine come Sunday evening. Who knows, really? But having picked Sergio Garcia for the Masters in April, I’m on for my second major of the season…

Facing the Music
Wimbledon’s a wrap for another year, although SW19 remains a sea of purple and dark green. British hopes were long since dashed in both the men’s and ladies’ singles championships so there’s a slightly more sober atmosphere here at Leaders HQ this week – although Johanna Konta certainly struck a chord with some new fans. A sixth Wimbledon singles title proved a bridge too far for Konta’s conqueror, Venus Williams, but it’s testament to the elder Williams sister’s cast-iron willpower, not to mention her new vegan diet, that she is back to somewhere near her best at the age of 37. Meanwhile, Andy Murray has diverted his attention away from tennis as he invests in a number of budding start-ups.

To win by a nose
With racquets downed, we must turn elsewhere for our patriotic sporting fix. For example, the Tour de France. We’re pinning our hopes of Team Sky and their three-time winner Chris Froome adding a fourth title to his already heaving mantle – but what exactly does it take physically, mentally and tactically climb those mountains?  Obviously renowned for their marginal gains, Froome now sports a nosepiece to improve his breathing

The postman always knocks twice
We Brits are also proudly tuning in to the ongoing World Para-Athletics Championships in London, where Team GB is tearing it up. Jonnie Peacock leads the GB charge, claiming another sprint world title to add to his Paralympic golds. But what pushes him to the top? And what does it have to do with the postman?

79yrs old + 175mph = ?
From the former Olympic Stadium up the road to a storied race track in Northamptonshire. It was the British Grand Prix last weekend at Silverstone, where Lewis Hamilton claimed a record-equalling fifth chequered flag at his home circuit. But more, much more than this, he did it his way. But I wonder how Ireland’s queen of motor sport or even Britain’s most extreme teacher would have fared at the GP?

Toto Wolff is top dog at reigning champions Mercedes AMG Petronas, and here’s a piece by F1.com on the man himself, and don’t forget when we caught up with him too…

Equality FC
Andy Murray was hailed this week for his stance on equality between the men’s and women’s games, and it seems that a football club in East Sussex share the same views – Lewes FC have become the first professional club to pay their men and women the same.

Another team who take budgets very seriously are English Championship side Brentford FC. The Bees’ approach is not new, but the club’s philosophy to being a successful underdog is simply to use your brain.

The Sultan of Swat Stats
From a statistical driven football team, to one of the most renowned statistical experts in MLB, the baseball world said goodbye to David Vincent last week – a man who did more than most to modernise America’s national pastime.

The one about Nike and the waffle iron
Speaking of great American innovators, Nike’s ascendency started with the unprecedented application of a waffle iron to a pair of running shoes by co-founder Bill Bowerman. Bowerman ruined that iron in short order, but Nike’s culture of innovation has long endured its rise from plucky start-up to global enterprise.

Think like a winner
What separates the great from the good in sport? Everyone has a take on that age-old question but it’s probably best to ask the winners themselves.

Jazz hands
We’ve all heard hacks describe athletes and coaches as maestros or virtuosos – and it turns out those scribblers could well be right. At least if one considers jazz music as a viable framework for successful leadership.

Musk masters emotional intelligence 
Actually, it’s enough to make one wonder if Tesla CEO Elon Musk was running through his Miles Davis playlist when he penned a masterful missive to his staff in the wake of a series of shop floor accidents. In a remarkable solo effort, he demonstrates how an inspired leader can harness the emotions of their staff, particularly in tough circumstances.

Sean Marks recasting his Nets
From drifting in the NBA doldrums 18 months ago to a young and promising roster plotting a strident course today, the Brooklyn Nets are gradually gaining momentum under GM Sean Marks. The virtues of implementing a long-term vision are there to for all to see.


We consider ourselves a family friendly digest but if you’ve already eaten then you may wish to avoid this image of Tour de France rider Pawel Poljański’s legs…


Ever wondered how you’d feel stranded on a desert island with John McEnroe? Whatever else, we now know the soundtrack that would accompany the pair of you.

5th July 2017

Leaders in the Windy City; New Balls Please; Lonzo the Laker; Firing Squad; TalkTalk; Lions Lessons; F*** the Haters; The Science of Pep Talks; The Pursuit of Happiness and more.

Welcome performance people to our bi-weekly collection of hot off the press insights to keep you up to date with what’s going on around the globe, collated by the team here at the LPI.

Yes, I know, we’re now out of sync after the digest didn’t land in your inbox last week. How did you cope without your bi-weekly Wednesday helping of performance stories?

A First in the Second City

Apologies for the radio silence, we were out in the US of A to run our first ever event in the Chicago, and we loved every second of it! We had a great couple of days sharing best practice and challenging the thinking of one another – thanks to those of you who made the trip. For those that didn’t, fear not, here is some wisdom from the Windy City from day one and day two of the summit, courtesy of resident wordsmith John Portch.

Don’t forget that session footage from Chicago, and previous events, can be found on the online content hub, here.


It’s a sea of purple and dark green here in Wimbledon, as the world’s best tennis players don the grass courts for The Championships once again.

 Time to Invest

So Lonzo Ball is staying in L.A., but did the Lakers utilise the draft in the right way? For every franchise, it’s an opportunity to add to your team and your culture, or so it should be… It’s so important to invest wisely when recruiting, no matter what sport or industry.

…and the recruitment landscape is changing. Yep, you guessed it, millennials are different than any generation before blah blah blah, so you better be innovative in your approach to getting them on board.

The Sack Race

A lesson that European football could definitely learn from basketball is extending the tenure of Head Coaches – the latest NBA season was completed without a single firing. An almost impossible thought in the EPL, it seems that improved recruitment and performance measurement are paying dividend. Chairmen, take note.

Talk the talk

…but if you are going through change, whether that’s with new talent or a new leader, the importance of communication to your teams cannot be underestimated. Shape your signals, be clear in your objectives.

The Lion’s Share

The British & Irish Lions players are on the brink of immortality, as a win against the All Blacks on Saturday will go down in history as one of the famous victories. There are a plethora of lessons from leading through adversity to ‘being the watercarrier’. Good luck Warren and co.

Trouble in Paradise

From the likes of the Lion’s Maro Itoje, to Tom Brady, Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James, they all seem to have the same traits – talent, drive and work ethic. Another trait is resentment, according new research. Being the top performer on the field, court or even in the office can result in envy from your peers, or journalists in Maro’s case…

Haters Gon’ Hate

Maro, Tom, Cristiano, LeBron and many others in their position will have to build a level of resilience to block out the haters. How do they do that? They potentially ask themselves these two simple questions.

…and the experts say that just because they’re the best, and are performing week-in-week-out, it doesn’t mean that they need any less attention from you as a leader. Consider development, autonomy, feedback, workload and relationships.

In the Zone

It’s become apparent that focusing on performing, rather than learning and self-improvement, can actually be detrimental in the long term. So it’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t know, that counts.

Mr. Motivator

As a leader, it’s your job to get your talent mentally prepared to perform and get in the zone. But how should you approach this? There’s definitely a science to give a pep talk, whether in the dressing room at the stadium, or boardroom in the office.


Good friend of Leaders Dr. Andy Walshe of Red Bull explains his passion for precision performance and delves deep into human optimisation.


We’re turning our summit session videos into podcasts so you can use your ears, not your eyes – we listened to your feedback. Here’s one on the New York Giants’ winning culture.

Weave Identity into your Team.

No, literally. That’s what C.S.D. Xejuyup did. Talk about a strong culture…

Half way house

Remember those goals you set yourself at the beginning of 2017? Close to hitting any of them? If not, here are some tips to get you back on track.

Don’t worry.

Be happy.


14th June 2017

Welcome performance people to our bi-weekly collection of hot off the press insights to keep you up to date with what’s going on in the performance space around the globe, collated by the team here at the Leaders Performance Institute.

Simply the Best
There are some very happy basketball fans in Oakland, hockey fans in Pittsburgh and football fans in England (yep, you better believe it) this week, as all three were crowned champions in their respective competitions…

Paul Simpson and co. did a pretty good job of picking the players that led them to World Cup glory in South Korea. Talent ID is an important part of any industry, so here is Lucy Skilbeck, Director of Actor Training at RADA, explaining exactly how to find the ideal student.

Golden State of Mind
The Warriors fans of old deserve all the success that comes their way after staying with their team through thick and thin. However, a new fan base is rising from Silicon Valley, and they aren’t the most popular. But who cares about popularity? Prof. Mitch Prinstein does, so maybe you should too.

1st the worst, 2nd the best..?
Nope. Not when it comes to the NBA Draft. Another team in California, the re-building Lakers to be precise, are looking increasing favourites to capture Lonzo Ball in next week’s draft. But how have the No.2 picks faired in years gone by? 

Silver Surfer
The Lakers staff will be crunching the numbers on Lonzo and the other potential draft picks. Just like they do to scout opposition, monitor injuries…let’s face it, analytics are part of the thinking of any decision these days. Here’s Adam Silver’s view on how it’s transforming the world of basketball, one number at a time.

A day in the life of…
Sean McVay, the new Head Coach the LA Rams. Just like his new neighbour down the road at the Lakers, Luke Walton, he’s got a real project on his hands in his first role at the helm. This is how he’s approaching the challenge…

You’re a wizard, Harry!
Okay, so England’s No.9 and latest captain never actually got to visit, but the Shropshire retreat was once the making of some of the brightest hopefuls to wear the Three Lions. What did the late and great Sir Bobby Robson’s ‘Lilleshall experiment’ teach them? Not that we need to improve much; we’re world champions don’t you know?

So maybe he isn’t a wizard, but Captain Kane certainly worked his magic to save the England senior team’s blushes with a late equaliser against Scotland at the weekend, and he credits the time he and his teammates spent with the Royal Marines – an inspired piece of left field thinking by Gareth Southgate.

Rapper’s Delight
Nike make Harry Kane and his teammates’ shirts, but what else do they make? Mixtapes, apparently, after Neymar Jr. released a 17 song compilation. The sports brand are mixing sport and music to integrate and understand different cultures.

Extraordinary Happens
Nike’s big rivals, adidas, have been busy making an impact too – they’ve set up a new partnership called the ‘Global Sport Alliance’ with the ranked #1 university in the US for innovation, Arizona State University.


Blink and you’ll miss it. 2.17secs is the new fastest pit stop of 2017. Will anyone better the Williams Racing team?


Psst…I’ve heard that Dani Alves has a secret or two to tell you.

How do you manage a team of All-Stars?
Just ask Steve Kerr, he’s done a decent job. Or Michael Mankins, who wrote this piece on HBR.

Are you doing what the most successful people do on a daily basis?
Here are 10 habits to get you started…

What’s in a number?
A cold-blooded murder, unfortunately…Just ask MVP, KD. 

How many people watched a team of street players take on the pros in a match watched by scouts from all over the world? 
800,000. Make it 800,001?

Generation Why
Here’s a look at how Bundesliga players are being developed off the field at Bayer Leverkusen.

31st May, 2017

Ainslie vs. Spithill; Grapples and Gargouillades; Sweep the Decks; Swing low in Atlanta; Tinderization; Die erste Frau; Liminal Minds; Talent Pathways; AI 4 Kids; 29 Questions and more.

Consulting the Oracle

The race to win the world’s oldest international sporting trophy is underway, in the competition’s 35th format – yep, I’m already a bit confused by the new rules and regulations, and so this may help. A sport with technology at the heart of everything, it promises to be a fascinating few days in Bermuda next month with Sir Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team vying to bring success to Great Britain for the first time in the competition’s history.

However, Sir Ben and co. will have to overcome the challenge of Jimmy Spithill’s Team Oracle, representing the USA. Will the Leaders bragging rights reside in London or Charlotte, NC come 27 June? Who knows? What I do know, is Captain Spithill is the cover star of Edition 13 of our Performance Journal – hear from the man himself on what it takes to defend the America’s Cup, here.

Back row ballet dancers

The constant search for innovations and improvements in sailing is part and parcel of an ever demanding sport. It’s no different in rugby, and few teams do it better than the All Blacks. No shock that we’re a big fan of this here in Team Content at Leaders HQ, but Hansen, Cron and co. have been looking outside of the box for ways to improve performance, and it seems to be working…

Sweep the decks

Carrying on the All Black theme, skipper (yes another one) of England’s rugby team Dylan Hartley (born in Rotorua, New Zealand…) has instilled ‘clean up after yourselves’ mentality within the England set up, and it’s set to continue. No surprise I guess, but the principles are strong and an example to follow. And if it worked for Richie and co…

Will an England 7’s star become an NFL starter with the Atlanta Falcons?

Maybe. Alex Gray is giving it his best shot.

Twenty’s plenty

Experts have found that a change to warm up routines could reduce injuries in teenage rugby players by more than 70%. That’s a pretty impressive amount, and even more so when it only takes 20mins.

Swipe right night

While rugby are worrying about the pre-game warm up, the guys in the NBA are more concerned about their players on the post-game nights out. One ‘anonymous’ GM suggested that players are now performing better (on the court) as the app saves them time ‘creeping’ in the club all night…

Bundesliga Bibi

While the NBA players will be doing their best not to be dismissed by the ladies off the court, the players in German fußball will be doing the same, but this time on the pitch. Bibiana Steinhaus will be the first female top flight referee as of next season. Sehr gut!

Grit from an FBI agent

From one inspirational female leadership figure to another, here is a collection of thoughts from a former FBI agent on how to become resilient, and how her approach to life carved a career all based around performing under high pressure.

Hip-hop at Harvard

Creativity is a wonderful thing. As is story-telling. As you’ll all probably know, both can be hugely powerful when used in sport to enhance performance. Well, Obasi Shaw has both in abundance, and his performance has been rewarded with an A-, the first time a thesis has been submitted as a hip-hop album in the university’s 380-year history.

Children of the Revolution

Talking of learning in different ways, here’s how AI and statistics could be used to help how children learn.

And talking even further about learning in different ways, we held a member’s event at the Etihad Campus, Manchester City FC yesterday all around the subject of ‘Talent Pathways’. It was fun, take a look.


My content colleague and the Leaders office cricket nerd, Bobby Clayton, makes his debut in the Performance Digest after sending this clip of the Rays’ Corey Dickerson textbook cricket style cover drive. Maybe an Alex Gray-esque change of career is on the cards?


Have you heard how what great managers do? No? Well here’s six minutes’ worth of examples that could help you become a better leader.

Roughly how many coaching questions could help you increase success?


…and how many questions should leaders ask themselves in the morning?


Wandering. Awareness. Return.

A minute of mindfulness a day keeps the negative thoughts away.

Managing up, up and away

Here’s how one US Air Force pilot had a difficult conversation with his general.