How to Create a Culture of High Performance in Professional Rugby Union

How to Create a Culture of High Performance in Professional Rugby Union

Paul Phillips

Paul Phillips | Founding Member, Board of Advisors: High-Performance Rugby Union | Coach Educator | Performance Rugby Consultant | Performance Coach Author.

With more than 17-years experience working with players, coaches, clubs, regions and organisations – as a Performance Coach, Educator and Consultant. With purpose, to positively influence growth, in many forms, to achieve individual and team development, progress, and success.

In episode #161 I chat with Author, Coach Educator and Performance Rugby Consultant, Paul Phillips.  We discuss his experiences of developing high performance cultures in professional rugby.  Paul also shares some research on tackling and how to overcome fears with helpful triggers as well as other fascinating insights.

Key Learning Points:

  • In Rugby at the lower levels fear is very prominent.
  • Establishing values and behaviours that are coupled with a vision for the team and club is an essential part of culture development.
  • Why can’t we generate behaviours before thoughts and emotions?
  • James Clear’s two-minute rule in the book Atomic Habits is a good way to start to develop habitual behaviours.
  • The size of the opponent in rugby can be a big factor in activating fear.
  • Visual, kinaesthetic and auditory cues and triggers are helpful in dealing with fear when tackling.
  • Using metaphors such as images of animals or superhero’s is a helpful trigger for adults and children.
  • The development of positive relationships between players and coaches is a hallmark of high performing teams.
  • Extrinsic environments are rife largely down to the way messages are communicated from senior staff and coaches in clubs and organisations.
  • Too much focus on external factors results in lower emotional control.

Connect with Paul Phillips


Book: How to Create Culture: In Rugby Union

Connect with David Charlton

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To Listen to Rugby Orientated Podcast Episodes

Ep039: John Fletcher – How to Develop Fearless Athletes

Ep094: Professor Adam Nicholls – How to Develop Mentally Strong Rugby Players

Ep104: Seb De Chaves –  The Psychological Demands of Elite Professional Rugby

Ep127: Paul Trainor – The Application of Mental Toughness Training in Elite Professional Rugby League

EP147: Aaron Walsh – The Application of Mental Performance Coaching in Elite Professional Rugby

Ep153: Rugby Psychology Compilation – 25 Ways You Can Improve Your Performance

Helpful Rugby Orientated Resources

Blog – Overthinking on the Rugby Pitch

Blog – Are You A Rugby Player With Perfectionist Tendencies?

Case Study – Supporting a Rugby Player to Overcome Self-Doubt

Blog – Playing Rugby at Your Best Under Pressure

Blog – 5 Ways to Create a Psychological Safe Sporting Environment

Rugby Psychology | Mental Skills for Rugby Resources



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David Charlton

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly. 

T: +44 7734 697769

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