Set the Standard

1 de febrero de 2021 Por Kitcho

From an early age i loved sports all types, but my favorite was rugby growing up.
Always felt intrigued by coaches / managers and super curious how they could get even more out of their athletes , the physiologically breaking down players, keeping them on their toes.

As a kid, England were always the ‘bad guys’ the team i hated and always assumed who’d be playing dirty or bending or breaking the rules.

when i was about 8 or 9 years old Clive Woodward, was appointed the English coach on the basis of a relatively thin resume, but offering the advantages of availability and willingness to commit himself fully to the post as rugby had just gone professionally a few years before all coaches had secondary employment before him.


I still remember his first team to tour Australia, 36 players. No fewer than 20 had yet to play for England, while only five had 10 caps or more. Long story short they received the biggest loss ever by an English team.

He was the first Coach/ Manager to really instill a level of discipline not seen before in professional Rugby. He enforced and began to operate on what they call «Lombardi time»? based on former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, Woodward insists all players were ready for pre-arranged meetings 10 minutes early. He expected them to be there in their seats at 9.50am.

Dress must be smart in public areas and mobile phones allowed only in the players’ rooms. Players not selected must always congratulate their replacement and write no book or article that might offend a colleague ( no social media at the time). Anyone in breach of the code is dealt with by the team, or rather the officially appointed set of «governors» within it. These were not necessarily senior players, for Woodward believed new caps sometimes have the freshest outlook. This might be super normal now but in that era of Rugby it was a seen as a very new approach challenging a few cultural norms in the game.

You might be thinking.. how was a 9 year old kid capable of taking this all in. Growing up i was that weird kid who knew all the stats and very much enjoyed the pre/ post match press conferences as it gave me this fantastic insight into the game from another perspective.


I forget which post game speech but i heard Clive speak about «critical non-essentials». I remember him mentioning the only motivational-type book he has read twice, was written by dentist, Dr Paddi Lund, whom Woodward knew by chance when he lived in Australia sometime in the 80s.

Dentists, apparently, are more prone to suicide than other professions and Lund got as far as thinking to jump off a bridge into the Brisbane River before deciding there was an alternative. He returned to his surgery, informed 95% of his clients he would not be treating them in future and asked the 5% of patients whose company he enjoyed to refer him to their friends.

Lund’s subsequent book about becoming the most successful dentist in Australia – Building the Happiness Centred Business – preaches a happy working environment as the only way to go. It made a huge impression on Woodward, who ran a successful computer-leasing business before taking the England job.

Woodward says it informs his entire management style. He used the same regular driver. He also said he would be «horrified» if people did not enjoy being in the England set-up, stressing the importance of thinking not so much laterally as differently.

Sub consciously i have applied many of these principles to my own life. I say no to a number of people who want to train in my gym as i can just tell it wont end well. I have been fortunate to be able to read peoples wants, needs or you could say breakdown someones ulterior motive to wanting a certain thing. Someone will often approach you wanting an outcome but what they really want is to accomplish something else on that journey but due to social norms or pure embarrassment they will not share that with you.

The most iconic for me at least Clive woodward story was in Cape-town about to lose their fourth test out of four, found themselves billeted in the same hotel as the Under-23 South african team. Woodward marched his team of losers out of the Newlands Holiday Inn, straight across town to the Mount Nelson, booked 20 rooms at the finest hotel in Africa on his personal credit card and stood the press dinner that night. He continued to spend money hand-over-fist when he returned home to make his team the best they could be, 3 years later they were crowned world champions because when he booked those hotel rooms he said to his team from this moment on » we set a new standard» .

This story effected me this Saturday just gone. whilst preparing for my live Saturday class with Dark Horse Method I jimmy rigged a phone holder to allow two cameras when i gave my class to give the students improved visual experience. I ended up breaking my phone. I went to the big electrical store which every half sized city would have. Due to current financial strain i was originally looking at cheaper more ‘ affordable ‘ phones.

I then saw the I phone 12 the current top of the line offering with so many features that could benefit me in relation to production value in creating better and higher quality content. I bought the best phone they had as from that moment on I will » set a new standard’