#bitesize – Ben Serpell, Performance Coach at Geelong Football Club

Unlocking Success: The Power of Mentorship and Resilience in Sports

In the dynamic world of sports, success often hinges not just on physical prowess but also on mental resilience and the guidance of mentors. Mentorship Resilience Success Sports Ben Serpell, a Performance Coach at Geelong Football Club, sheds light on the critical role mentors play in shaping careers and the importance of resilience in achieving peak performance.

Having an extensive experience working in elite environments across Europe and Australia, Ben has demonstrated success collaborating with a range of high-performing teams and individuals in professional and international Rugby (Brumbies Rugby, NSW Waratahs, Mentorship Resilience Success Sports Munster Rugby, Gloucester Rugby, Wallabies), Australian Rules football (Port Adelaide Power, Geelong Cats), individual athletes (Ellyse Perry, Maitlin Brown), and high-performance consultancy for physical, coach, and high-performance program development in Olympic Sports (Australian Institute of Sport, Cycling Australia, Australian Taekwondo).

Highlights from the episode:

  • Why do you need mentors to develop you technically and sponsors to advocate for you
  • Doing lifting before running and how it boosts testosterone and energy
  • Building emotional resilience in AFL
  • What a good primer session for young athletes looks like
  • Recovery tips to help athletes mentally and physically recover after a football match

The Influence of Mentors and Sponsors

Serpell emphasizes the distinction between mentors and sponsors, highlighting how mentors support development while sponsors advocate for new opportunities. Drawing from his own experience, he credits figures like Dean Benson and John Prior for their instrumental mentorship and sponsorship, which helped him establish a robust network and open doors to new roles.

The Benefits of Lifting in Football Training

One of the key insights Serpell shares is the significance of lifting before training in football. He delves into the scientific rationale behind this practice, citing its neurological, hormonal, and physiological benefits. However, he acknowledges the cultural shift needed in the AFL to fully embrace this approach.

Developing Emotional and Mental Resilience

Building emotional and mental resilience is crucial in sports, particularly in high-pressure environments like professional football. Serpell underscores the importance of injury prevention and maintaining basic movement patterns to enhance resilience. He also highlights the role of testosterone production in promoting resilience through pre-session priming.

Strategies for Lower-Level Players

For younger athletes or lower-level players, Serpell offers practical advice for optimizing performance and recovery. He recommends short, explosive movement sessions with low resistance and emphasizes the inclusion of sprints in warm-ups. Additionally, he suggests recovery strategies such as cherry juice and post-match meditation to aid in winding down and improving sleep quality.

Listen: iTunes | Spotify

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