David Wessels on Coaching Pro Sport: Stay a Humble Student of the Game

David Wessels on Coaching Pro Sport: Stay a Humble Student of the Game

David Wessels is the head coach of the Australian professional rugby team the Melbourne Rebels. He took over the team in 2018, a team that finished dead last in the Super Rugby Championship the year before. In his first season, Dave turned them into playoff contenders, only narrowly missing the playoffs in his next two seasons.

In this episode, we talk about the key ingredients to being a successful professional sports coach. We uncover the secret to acquiring a permission-less apprenticeship and how valuable it is to surround yourself with people to constantly learn from.

We find that a focus on humility and learning can open up doors to your career success.

Please enjoy!



Full Episode

Guest Links

Show Notes

  • When and where did David’s journey start? (2:22-4:36)
  • Everyone is winging it, no one truly has it figured out. (4:37-6:02)
  • Figuring it out and enjoying the journey while building your career. (6:03-8:33)
  • What makes a good coach? (8:53-10:48)
  • What is the key ingredient to being a successful sports coach? (10:50-12:40)
  • Coach vs team, what is more important to reach success? (12:42-14:54)
  • Where did it all start for David? (14:56-19:58)
  • WIN – What’s Important Now (20:11-22:00)
  • The permission-less apprenticeship. (22:02-27:06)
  • How to approach a mentor. (27:21-28:59)
  • Being present and in the moment. (29:00-30:19)
  • What did a day-to-day upskilling routine look like for David? (30:25-32:40)
  • The importance of humility. (32:41-34:45)
  • ‘You’re going to be the same person you are in five year’s time except for the people you meet and the books you read.’ (34:46-36:32)
  • How much should we tweak a plan along the way, and how much value is there in sticking to the original plan? (36:35-38:55)
  • What role does self-reflection play in a team? (38:56-40:22)
  • How do you push people outside of their comfort zones? (40:23-42:25)
  • How to get a team on-board with your vision. (42:40-44:19)
  • The effect of storytelling to get buy-in from a team. (44:22-46:42)
  • How much time is spent on mental preparation vs physical preparation? (46:48-50:27)
  • What role did David’s family play in his journey to success? (50:30-52:08)
  • How to pick yourself up after hard knocks. (52:35-54:50)
  • How to turn away from negativity. (54:52-57:46)
  • How to turn failure into success. (57:47-59:17)
  • The value of simplification. (59:18-1:00:22)
  • What characteristic does David admire about the person he was 20 years ago? (1:00:30-1:03:27)
  • Achieving greatness as the underdog is a life-changing experience. (1:03:31-1:06:45)
  • What’s next for David? (1:07:13-1:10:12)

Selected Links from the Episode

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