Alistair is currently an assistant coach of Samoa and also works for the NZRU as a high-performance coaching. Performance is very much at the centre of this coach.
He’s originally from Port Talbot, Wales but has been living in New Zealand for 20 years. He talks about his journey in the world of Rugby, from playing to coaching to video analysis work. He explains how his video analysis work got picked up by the New Zealand senior team very quickly and this lead him to an amazing adventure that spanned 3 world cups, 2 of which New Zealand won. Alistair’s desire to become a full coach became a reality when he took over as the defensive coach for the Aukland Blues in 2016. He talks about the learning from this experience, and what he’s plans for the future are.
An awesome story and one that is loaded with useful 1% Better insights. Have a listen.
Timeline & Summary of the discussion below:
5 min – Alistair’s background and Quelsh!
7:30 – Rugby being a major focus growing up & getting advice from Dad & Playing Professionally for a few years
9:00 – Moving to New Zealand to Learn his Craft at the age of 21!
10:00 – Being the Best You can Be & Seeing how far you can go with Wellington
11:00 – Moving back to Wales but Injury striking and the Playing Windows Closed
12:00 – Play & Pause on Video – Focusing on Performance as a Player unconsciously
13:30 – Life in the Office Working World but having a passion for coaching & teaching!
14:00 – Coaching Opportunity in Ballina learning lots but still have the desire to play
16:00 – Moving back to New Zealand and starting on the Video Analyst Journey
18:00 – Monday Night Analysis for Club Rugby & Having a Moneyball Impact!
20:00 – Analysis work really opening up Alistair’s eyes to the game!
21:00 – Getting picked up by the full New Zealand Team quickly!
22:00 – Providing Analysis & Advice, not just data! The passion for rugby helped.
23:00 – Emailing an All Blacks Coach that changed Everything!
24:00 – Ask for Advice in an Email, not look for something else!
25:00 – Having a focus on a Growth Mindset which worked in his favour
26:00 – Working at Telecom in NZ and making a mistake – but always learning!
27:00 – A Value of Encouragement in the NZ Culture – Find ways to fix the problem.
29:00 – From the Coffee to full time working with the All Blacks within 6 months – Getting a standby call up for the first world cup!
31:00 – Working with Wayne Smith and a huge game changer for Alistair.
32:00 – The 2007 World Cup and the next year was a big learning for Alistair.
33:00 – Taking the role of performance analyst
34:00 – Building Trust with Players & Coaches with the skillset of the Game – working with Wayne, then with Graham Henry and Steve Hansen
35:00 – Moving forward into year 2 knowing he was going to be more than just an analysis coach
36:30 – Shifting from providing a Key Service to becoming a trusted partner with the players
38:30 – Becoming a real integral part of the Coaching Group – Learning and judging when to provide more than just analysis – All going in the same direction
39:00 – Role Changing massively from 2011 to 2015 – The Demand on Information
41:30 – Always knowing a move back to Coaching was the plan but when is the right time?
43:00 – Coaching Schools & Club in parallel to the Analysis Role
44:00 – Knowing the 2015 World Cup would be the End of that part of the story but the starting of another!
45:00 – Moving back into Super Rugby with Auckland after the World Cup and starting as a Defence Coach
46:00 – Building Plans, Programs, Strategies and How to Get Better Outside of the New Zealand Group!
48:30 – Stepping into the Coaching Game & Learning Fast!
49:30 – Noticing the difference between Club level compared to International Level
50:30 – Lessons Learned from 3 Years with Auckland Blues – How you deliver the message, finding your own coaching style and approaches
52:00 – Attaching coming naturally but Defence work needs deliberate practice
53:00 – Finding out Who am I as a Person, Dad, Husband, & Coach!
54:30 – Fact finding in the US with Chicago Cubs & Seattle Sea Hawks. – Michael Gervais as a great help!
56:00 – Living a Growth Mindset and Fully understanding yourself!
57:30 – Going in a different direction as a coach and deciding to leave the Auckland blue
58:00 – Understanding the philosophy and Resigning from the role!
59:00 – Identifying Key Behaviours & Values
1:00:00 – Nailing your Personal Philosophy in 25 words – the Framework from Mike Gervais
1:02:00 – Building Relationships through Coaching – This is the Key!
1:04:00 – The mix of intuition and analysis – Experience and Feelings!
1:05:00 – Having the ability to see what’s important now!
1:07:00 – Organized Chaos, Goal Setting & Mind Mapping
1:08:00 – Knowing what to do with the information gathered?
1:10:00 – Social Styles of Learning – How your team Learn?
1:11:00 – DISC Styles of Learning – Knowing your type helps with your performance
1:12:00 – Vulnerability & Authenticity as Key Values
1:13:00 – Finding the Balance between Vulnerable and Strong!
1:14:00 – Book recommendations (some with links)
- Start with Why – Simon Sinek
- 7 Habits of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey
- The obstacle is the way – Ryan Holiday
- The Barcelona Way – Damien Hughes
- Turn This Ship Around – David Marguet
- Principles – Ray Dalio
- Combining a passion
- Voluntary work to see where it can go!
- Getting to stay involved in the game doing the analysis work
- Have a unique skill set
- Always ask for advice not looking for something!
- The New Zealand Mindset wanting to learn
- The way you want to live your life
- How to Respond!
- Take away the fear and open up the growth!
- Building Trust as the key!
- Values and what relate most
- Social Styles of Learning
- Be Vulnerable
- Moneyball Impact!
- Lead Domino’s
- Being the Best in World
- Social Styles of Learning – Know how your team learns?
- Working with Data & knowing what to do with it?
Connect in with Alistair on Twitter
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