Our Great Coach on this episode is Gary Kirsten.
Gary played 101 Test matches and 185 One Day Internationals for South Africa between 1993 and 2004. He retired as the first ever South African to play in 100 tests, and the first Test batsman to make hundreds against each of the other 9 Test nations.
He became the coach of the Indian cricket team in 2008 and led them to win the World Cup 2011, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy vs Australia in 2009, the first ever test series win in New Zealand and to become the become the top-ranked team in Test matches.
In 2011 he was appointed as head coach of South Africa, and led them to also become the #1 ranked test team.
He has also coached the Hobart Hurricanes in the Australian Big Bash League and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
Gary is a coach who is deeply authentic, and comfortable expressing both his own vulnerabilities, and heightened expectations.
He believes that the quality of his coaching is determined by the effectiveness of his facilitation skills, and so is reflective and philosophical about the techniques needed to reach the athletes he leads.
He is that rare breed of person who has been able to reach the pinnacle of his sport as both an athlete and coach, and this lends his story an added layer of credibility, whether it is talking about the deficit of mental skills he experienced as a batsman, or the importance of understanding what the environment requires of you as a leader.
Gary is a master coach and human being, and there were many highlights for me in this interview, some of the key ones were
The story he shares about winning the World Cup with India, and how it was a change in behaviours that helped achieve this result.
How as a player he always thrived in an environment where there was deep psychological safety.
And, how the best athletes in the world are able to separate the result from their performance, and how this helps them manage their anxiety and expectations.
This was a great interview, a real highlight for me, and I hope you enjoy it as much I did.
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