001 – Steve Hooper – Professional Sport Environment

Athletic Performance Coach at Brisbane Broncos

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Have you ever wondered how professional rugby league masters team performance?

How do they develop a healthy team culture? What are the leadership habits of the game’s top coaches?

In this episode Team Guru speaks to Steve Hooper. Steve has been on the strength and conditioning staff at the North Queensland Cowboys, Catalan Dragons, Queensland State of Origin Team and his current role at the Brisbane Broncos.

Steve talks about his role at the Broncos, how the players and staff go about preparing for a match – their routines and their performance philosophy.

He gives us some great insight into the way professional football teams develop their healthy team dynamics as well as the masterful approaches to leadership from some of the game’s best coaches.

Lessons Learned

Here’s what I took out of the episode:

  • Focus on team purpose – winning. Everything the players and staff do must contribute to winning games of football. ‘Results are paramount to everything. Everything is geared towards winning.’ Doing anything that does not contribute to a win is a waste of time
  • A clear, repeatable routine that is focused on providing the right conditions for peak physical and mental performance
  • They extract every lesson they can from the previous game – being brutally honest about performance. Then they put a line under it. That game is finished. They move on and focus on our purpose – to win the next game
  • Huge focus on role clarity. Every player, ever member of staff has a tight, detailed role description.
  • The clarity of those role descriptions is what separates Wayne Bennett from other coaches. Tight, detailed roles for each player. In some ways it’s easier to play in the NRL then the Q-Cup because they can focus their attention so narrowly. And it’s important that everyone understands the tight parameters their teammates are operating within.
  • Public reprimands for people who make the group suffer by going outside of their role description
  • The thing that separates high performance culture from the others is that ‘I am truly accountable for everything that I do’.
  • It’s important to have positive personal relationships with the people we work with, but achieving the team goal stands above any of those personal relationships
  • Members of this team hold each other to account. They call out unhelpful behaviour / performance / actions.
  • Leaders’ style is consistent with their own personality and the experiences they had with their own leaders
  • The foibles of a hard, dogmatic leadership style
  • Even the most accomplished leaders – Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett – continue to develop their strengths and seek to provide new things to the group
  • Leaders who have depth of relationship with everyone on the team are in a position to hold them to account
  • In the forming stage of a team – i.e. when a new coach comes to the club, bringing a significant change of support staff, the leader takes a more commanding role – particularly in outlining everyone’s role
  • Using technology and data to take the guess work out of planning and training


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