A lot to learn from strength and conditioning
Do the basics, do them well and keep perfecting them every day. This was the advice from Dr Nic Gill, highperformance coach, active Ironman, sports scientist and a Tauranga-based avocado grower.
For the last 11 years he’s been strength and conditioning coach for the All Blacks through more than 100 test wins, and two Rugby World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015. He’s also published more than 80 research articles in peerreviewed scientific journals and has a book due for release later this year on health, exercise and wellbeing.
He spoke to The New Zealand Avocado International Industry Conference on what it takes to consistently win on the global stage, whether it be at rugby or horticulture. In both cases a small group of New Zealanders operated in a challenging environment.
“We’re a small country, with a small population,” he said.
“The teams we compete against have so many more players available to choose from – we’re at a huge disadvantage.” Kiwis had huge expectations and demanded their team won every single game.
“If we lose, the country goes into a depression.”
But just as every All Black player was a small cog in a big machine so were individual avocado growers.
The first fundamental need was to have direction.
“Without a direction, vision or a goal, then you don’t know where you’re going,” he said.
It was important to have good leadership which was about people stepping up and taking ownership to ensure all involved were doing the right things to achieve the vision.
“I’ve only got a small orchard but I love the people I meet and the stuff I learn as a grower.”
Vital to top performance is having fun and to need to keep learning.
“Again, this is no different to the avocado industry,” he said.
“What’s the point if we don’t love what we’re doing? Being valued and having connections is massively important for performance.”
All industry players not only had to do the basics better than anyone else, then they needed to look for innovations.
Any team or industry should always be improving.
“We don’t just improve what we’re poor at because the strength we had in the first place diminishes,” he said.
“We can’t sit still because there’s so much competition, and everyone else is trying to do things better to catch up. The All Blacks are constantly looking at ways to improve.”