Our Great Coach on this episode is Sir Gordon Tietjens.
Gordon is the former coach of the New Zealand men’s national team in rugby sevens; the All Blacks Sevens.
He started coaching the team in 1994 and had immediate success winning the Hong Kong 7’s.
He then went on to win the 7’s world series on a record 12 times. Along the way the team also won the world cup in 2001 and 2013, and 4 Commonwealth Games gold medals.
He stepped down as the coach in 2016 and took on the head coach of Somoa.
He has been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame and in 2013 was knighted for his services to Rugby.
Gordon is a coach with a life-long commitment to the service of people development. As the coach of the All Black 7’s for 22 years, he helped 47 of his players go on to represent New Zealand Rugby Union. And on that list are some of the all time greats like Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen.
He is fiercely determined and fired by a deep sense confidence that comes from the effort that goes into the preparation and planning of his teams.
He also believes in the importance of nutrition, and intense training regimes that are intended to be tougher than anything they would face in an actual match as this prepares the athletes for better decision making when they are in the heat of battle on the field.
After interviewing Sir Gordon, I can see why New Zealand is considered one of the most proud sporting nation on the planet.
In this discussion some of the key highlights for me were:
How he helps people build self-belief by encouraging them to express themselves as individuals and not be afraid of making mistakes.
His views on mental toughness and the traffic light system he uses to classify players.
The terrific story he shares about Roger Federer crying to illustrate his point that losing although painful, does not necessarily mean failure when you’ve given it your all.
And How the onus is on the coach to select the right people who believe in the teams culture. And the importance of character and coachability in selecting these team members.
This was a terrific and intense conversation with a master coach and I hope you enjoy it as much I did.
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