A lot to learn from strength and con­di­tion­ing

The Orchardist - - >>Avocado Conference - By Denise Landow

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.”

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