Head coach in international T20 cricket, mental coach to professional athletes, a University Professor and acclaimed speaker, this talented man has launched his first book which will no doubt wow us all.
What was the inspiration behind writing your upcoming book?
I’ve been gifted so many amazing opportunities to work with professional athletes, across the world, for the past fifteen years. As sport teaches invaluable lessons, for all of life, the book provides an opportunity to share the best insights and lessons from these experiences, hopefully adding value to other people’s personal and professional lives.
Why ‘the Barefoot Coach?’
‘The Barefoot Coach’ title reflects the down-to-earth, candid and very real content, where I share success and failure, and the good and the not-so-good with equal honesty. Also, when I was appointed as one of the first foreign coaches in Australia’s Big Bash T20 cricket League in 2014, my friend and Proteas cricketer Dale Steyn commented, ‘not bad for a barefoot surfer from Hout Bay.’ (I seldom wear shoes around the village).
How do you leave your ego behind as a coach to best help those you’re working with?
When coming from ego, we are serving ourselves, placing our own agenda (of looking good and being right), ahead of serving the needs of the people we are supposed to be serving. Despite being acutely aware of this and working to not succumb to it, serving my ego still lead to one of my biggest professional errors that played out on global television which hurt some of the very people I was charged to serve. The whole story about this is explained in the book. For me, awareness is the best antidote to ego, which thrives in lack of awareness.
Who’s been your biggest mentor?
As far as mentors go, when it comes to innovation and having the courage to challenge convention, Tim Noakes has been a guiding light. My other ‘great examples’ are those athletes that have got to the top of their game and have achieved ‘so-called’ fame, yet do not confuse having special talent with being a special human being. Examples include the likes of Gary Kirsten, Hashim Amla, Mike Hussey (Australian cricketer), Rahul Dravid (Indian cricketer), Jean de Villiers (SA rugby) and from my favourite sport, people like Mick Fanning and Ace Buchan (surfing).
How do you balance your nomadic lifestyle with the needs of your family?
For over a decade, I have worked abroad for 6-7 months of the year, mainly in India, Australia and Dubai. This has been particularly tough on my wife who takes care of our three children, our pets, and our home and vegetable garden etc. Our rule has been that if any trip is longer than 4 weeks, her and the children would join me for about 2-weeks. This has provided us with some wonderful travel opportunities. Almost everyone I speak to, where one partner travels extensively, reports a similar experience of the first few days back being the most difficult. Both of us become independent when apart, and it takes time (and friction) to reintegrate as a couple and in partnership.
Tell us something about yourself no one may know
I could live anywhere in the world with my work, and am often asked where I would choose. The answer is simple; I have chosen. I live in one of the most beautiful suburbs, in the world’s most beautiful city, and in which the quality of life is the best I’ve experienced. Sure we have challenges, but the good parts are better than anywhere in the world.