Elite sport

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Damian’s knowledge, support and insights have been a tremendous help to us developing a high performing culture.

Ricky Stuart, Head Coach, Canberra Raiders

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Damian is powerful at explaining the principles of creating a high performing culture.

Eddie Jones, England RU Head Coach

Jonny Wilkinson, a fly-half for England Rugby Union and one of the most famous players in international professional rugby, was catapulted to stardom when his drop goal during extra time won England the World Cup in 2003. Wilkinson made his debut in 1998, joining the Newcastle Falcons (his local club) and England Rugby Union. On the field he has a reputation for accurate kicking and fierce tackling; off the field he has a reputation for practising incessantly and avoiding publicity. After his dramatic role in the 2003 World Cup victory, Wilkinson became a national hero in England, was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and awarded the Order of the British Empire and was named captain of England’s team.

Setting yourself challenges and goals in life, particularly when life is not treating you well, is a positive reaction to what are more often than not, very negative circumstances.

I am lucky enough to lead a very happy and privileged life through the love and support of my friends and family. However, in the world of life and rugby I have some very clear and definite principles. I firmly believe that you only get out of life what you put into it and striving to improve your circumstances and achieve your goals gives so much more satisfaction than sitting back and letting life pass you by. One day you may live to regret it.

I have some sayings which I look to when things do not seem to be going so well either on the rugby pitch or off it and which Damian has captured the essence of in this excellent book. Some of these are:

‘Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.’ (William Jennings Byran)

‘A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.’ (Anon)

‘I play the odds – the harder I work, the more likely I am to succeed.’

‘Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.’ (Joshua J Marine)

‘I can’t always succeed but I can always deserve to.’

Clearly you are lucky enough to have some very kind, caring and hard working people around you and I wish them, and especially you readers, the very best of luck in the future.

Jonny Wilkinson

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Damian injected a huge amount of energy into our event. Delegates were inspired by his sessions, which got everyone thinking differently. If you want to create a buzz and inspire people to be the best they can, invite Damian to deliver at your event.

Ollie Holt, Coaching System Manager, Sports Coach UK

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Dealing with change is something that sport demands of all its participants on an ever-increasing basis. Whoever responds to this challenge best tends to enjoy the rewards which sport can offer.

I often appreciate how many parallels there is between sport and our wider lives, not least the important ability to face, adapt and to embrace change. That is why this book is so important.

I have worked with Damian Hughes and consider him a friend. He has captured many important lessons which remind us how to deal with change. I, therefore, have no hesitation in recommending this excellent book as a fantastic guide to accompany you on your own journey.

Tony Smith, Head Coach, England Rugby League

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I believe fate brought me in the path of Damian last year whilst I was attending a conference at Twickenham. Listening to Damian breakdown and explain the 5 steps to success, rationalised the process of coaching at the top level and the impact you can have on an environment from the outset and go on to create to achieve success.

With the help of Damian, he has supported the England Netball team in identifying the behaviours that we want to associate with our team, which create an open and honest environment that the players and staff want to work in. There was one quote that made a huge impact on our team going into our test series; ‘Feeling comfortable, being uncomfortable’, an emotion each athlete recognised was important to overcome if they wanted to be the best and beat the best.

The England Netball Team look forward to building on the work we have done so far and look forward to the next challenge Damian brings.

Tracey Neville, Head Coach, England Netball

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Damian has been a great help in developing a winning culture through his support of coaches, staff and players.

Gregor Townsend, Scotland RFU

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Damian presented very thought provoking ideas that although based in a variety of theoretical backgrounds could easily be applied to coaching situations. His knowledge of the ways in which people think and respond meant that many of the things he talked about were instantly recognisable and relevant. Having choice at the centre of coaching makes perfect sense; this then means the actions fall into place.

The execution is fully informed by the intention. The coaches were able to apply the information both to themselves as individuals but also to the groups that they are working with. His ability to adapt the session and relate to the group, led to a fantastic, rewarding learning environment.

Damian had a huge impact on his audience and we have had so much positive feedback already. We will be asking him back for future events and would recommend him very highly. Thank you Damian.

Lucy Rowe,
 Talent Pathway Coach Developer, England Hockey

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Acknowledging that the sports business environment will continue to become an ever increasingly competitive environment, it was important to ensure that our Commercial department were personally and professionally inspired and motivated to perform at their best. Meeting Damian allowed us to step back and reassess our values, behaviours and thinking. Not only did Damian provide refreshing objectivity with thought provoking business & sporting anecdotes, but his insight also helped lead to a redefining approach. I would happily recommend taking the time to listen to Damian and/or reading any of his books for what I call his ‘injection of inspiration’.

Marcus Bennett, Senior Business Development Manager, The Football Association

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We were very fortunate that Damian came and did a session around culture with our staff and board members. The feedback from the session has been outstanding and the biggest compliment I can give Damian’s work is that he made and impact with everyone in the room, from Club owner to casual staff. He has an ability to communicate with all people and bring real life scenarios to life whilst demonstrating that culture isn’t about money or facilities but about behaviours. Outstanding session and we will certainly be engaging with Damian more to grow the culture throughout our football club

Stuart Webber, Sporting Director, Norwich City FC

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Damian captures many of the ideas of great leadership.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Former Manager, Manchester United

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