“I never expect anything from the boys that I wouldn’t do myself. I go to all morning gym sessions” (Nigel Hotham, Hamilton Boys High School 1st XV, Touch and 7s coach)
It’s hard to fathom that Nigel Hotham, who been coaching teenage boys for 3 decades, coaches 3 campaigns a year, is Deputy Principal at a huge school, is married with 6 children, and still gets to 6am gym sessions with his players. His mantra is to be present with the players and walk the journey with them. The level of commitment he shows is unbelievable. Most coaches give so much of themselves, but turning up to all gym session is quite rare.
Often coaches want to know ‘the secret’ to success, but could it be as simple as ‘being there?’ Being actively present, in amongst the trenches with the players throughout, must provide wonderful trust and connections. The players will know you are fully committed.
Plus there are opportunities to connect with players on both a personal and performance level - to chat to them, find out about them, observe them, and help them with their game. Nigel also utilises a weekly journal system that the players hand to him at the Monday morning gym session. This is another way to open the door to learn about players, many of whom might be a bit shy to start a conversation.
This approach seems simple, yet could be hugely powerful. It is probably no different to a work environment. We all want a bit of love from our boss. Imagine the CEO that gets amongst their staff, as opposed to sitting in their comfy office every day of the week?
What could be the impact of being actively present?