When was the last time you tried something new? Whether it was a piece of food, traveling to a place you’ve never been before or simply trying a new exercise, new is scary because it is different an unfamiliar to us. Think about what you do for work, would you be able to take what you’re doing and make a complete switch by moving to a new country to work in a field that you have had limited exposure to over the course of your career?
That is exactly what Dr. Nick Winkelman did when we left his role at Exos, an elite performance training facility where he was helping athletes prepare for careers in professional sports, primarily the National Football League, to work with the Irish Rugby Football Union which represents all levels of the sport including the country’s national teams.
Yes, that’s right, Nick left a comfortable position in the United States where he was working with the country’s top amateur athletes as they attempted to ascend to the professional ranks in order to work with a sport that he had no prior experience with in his career.
Nick succeeded in making the career change because he is a professional performance coach who excels in helping his athletes succeed NOT because he designs the hardest workout programs but because he knows how to communicate with them. What Nick did was extremely difficult, leave one sport like gridiron football (a technical name for the American version) to work with a similar contact sport but one with a completely different approach to practice and training.
The culture of rugby is to educate the players so they know what to do at any point on the field (technically called a pitch for rugby); Dr. Winkelman is the perfect person to make this type of transition because not only has he been studying human performance but he has also spent his career learning how to communicate better with the athletes he coaches.
Early in his career Nick realized that there were very limited resources for the technical skills of coaching and communication so he set out to learn how he could improve his ability to share his ideas with the athletes he coached. Over the course of a career helping athletes maximize their performance at the highest levels of sport Nick has developed methods of communicating that allowed him to easily make the transition from coaching a sport like American football to coaching a completely different on like rugby.
Recently Nick has taken his years of experience and research, that’s how he earned the PhD credential, and put it in the Language of Coaching, a book coming out in the Spring of 2020 that will cover effective strategies and methods for how to communicate with athletes or anyone else you may need to share complicated ideas or instructions with.
To learn more about Nick, his career as a performance coach, how he uses effective communication strategies to help athletes succeed at the highest levels of performance and what you can do to become a better communicator yourself, listen to his recent interview on the All About Fitness podcast.