GAINcast Episode 196: Performance teams (with Dave Reddin)

Dave Reddin has helped assemble performance teams and structures at England Rugby, the Football Association, and British Olympic Association. Together, they achieved historic results. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to discuss how coaches can best work together to support a team, as well as thoughts on how sports science and monitoring can best fit into the performance equation.

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Notes and quotes

Dave Reddin has worked in various coaching and performance roles in England over the past from decades. He worked with England Rugby from 1997 to 2006, helping them win the Rugby World Cup in 2003. From 2008 to 2012 he was the Head of Performance Services for the British Olympic Association. From 2014 to 2019 he was with the FA as Head of Team Strategy and Performance, during which time they reached the World Cup semifinal for the first time since 1990.

  • 4:00 – Leaning and making mistakes.
  • 7:15 – Reddin’s background and influences.
  • 11:45 – Loughborough influences and the importance of pedagogy in coaches education: “Everyone on the staff is a coach first and foremost. You aren’t a scientist or an analyst, you are coach. Your job is to translate and inspire the people around you and you need skills to do that.”
  • 18:45 – Influence of Clive Woodward.
  • 26:15 – Organizational dynamics: “Allowing commenting based on hierarchy is a weakness. If you are a head coach that gives you the right to comment on everything. But if you are an S&C, you should have that right too.”
  • 29:00 – Defining the mission and challenges leading up to the 2012 Olympics at the British Olympic Association.
  • 34:30 – Moving to football and changing mindsets: “The people who had been in football a long time couldn’t see beyond the artificial barriers the sport put in front of them.”
  • 49:00 – Thoughts on data and monitoring: “GPS is simply a piece of data. It is no more or less important than your conversation with the athlete. What encourages me are coaches that are willing to use data as an aid to decision making, but not as the basis of their philosophy.”
  • 55:00 – Over reliance on GPS: “Athletes are resilient unless we turn them into creatures that look at data first rather than feeling. You can turn off resilience if you give athletes a bailout when things get uncomfortable.”

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • GAIN 2020 has shifted online, with a monthly interactive master class series. Learn more and sign up now. GAIN Alumni can also get access to all events by renewing their membership.
  • The GAINcast is also sponsored by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • We recently talked more about monitoring GAINcast 192 with Aaron Coutts and Franco Impellizzeri. GAINcast 134 also discussed how sports science has lost its way in football with former Manchester United coach Tony Strudwick. This was also a topic on GAINcast 184 with Lachlan Penfold. Reddin’s former colleague at England Rugby Calvin Morriss was also mentioned on this episode and a guest on GAINcast 176.
  • You can follow Reddin on Twitter (@dave_reddin). He also dove into more details on his experience with the FA on the Training Ground Guru podcast.