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The Wales Head Coach is eloquent and elaborate when discussing the team environment he has built at the Principality Stadium and pride he fosters in those players lucky enough to pull on the famous red jersey. He also possesses an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of players, former teammates, colleagues and games. Yet Gatland is not being disingenuous when he says: “I’m not the sort of coach who knows everything about the game.”
The New Zealander is a smart reader of the game but he is also smart enough to know that the quest for knowledge never ends, especially as he calls time on his 12-year tenure as Wales Head Coach. Gatland has won four Six Nations titles and his last act will be leading Wales into the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan this autumn. We asked him about his past but this is definitely not the time to rest on his laurels. “We all need to look at improving, I’ve got an insatiable appetite for knowledge and don’t know everything about the game,” he tells Performance. “I want to continue to improve as a coach and I want the same for the players as well.”
The same can be said for the English Institute of Sport’s SmartHER programme, which Dr Emma Ross tells us looks to educate coaches around female athletes and their performance needs, or indeed the US Air Force, where Brigadier General Robert Novotny continually seeks to better understand why a mission sortie can fall short of expectations. Both feature in this edition of Performance.
Elsewhere, we explore character development at the world-renowned Eton College, discuss decision-making through the eyes of Chess Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura and World Series of Poker champion Daniel Negreanu, and look at the introduction of mindfulness practices in MLB with Zach Brandon of the Arizona Diamondbacks. You’ll also hear from Australian rules football’s first Indigenous Liaison Officer, Phil Narkle of the West Coast Eagles, and we reflect on our successful members-only Leaders Meet: Wellbeing event at the City Football Academy in Manchester.
As ever, we hope these best practice case studies from across the world of elite performance offer food for thought and provide a morsel of inspiration for your next project.
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