I was intrigued: I had never heard young sportsmen talk about their Strength and Conditioning Coach in the way they talked about Paul.
‘He is ridiculously strong’. ‘He’s so positive – all the time’. ‘He can run forever’. Just a few of the comments from the players he works with at Notts. It’s a very powerful motivator when the coach, who is more than twice the age of most of the squad, performs with you, (and often better than you!) rather than just instructing you.
So what’s Paul’s secret? Why is he unique?
Part of Paul’s power is in his passion and relentless, positive enthusiasm. I consider myself a positive person, but I managed to get 40 press-ups by using the ‘c’ word twice. (Before I use it here and get another 20, I want to put in a disclaimer that I need to use to word to inform the reader. His banned ‘c’ word is can’t).
Paul started training when he was 5 or 6 and soon decided he would always train, as he didn’t want to be like his dad, who told Paul that he’d stopped training when he was 19. Paul saw the health and fitness consequences of that and he vowed to train and adopt a healthy lifestyle and live to be a healthy centenarian. Paul trained himself and developed his understanding and skills in local rugby before obtaining a degree in Sports Science.
His earlier career included landscaping the Chimpanzee area at Taranga Park Zoo in his hometown, Sydney (as you do!).
So what is different about Paul’s training regime?
1. Train hard 6 days a week.
2. Train outside as much as possible.
3. Run – Paul himself runs for 2 – 3 hours most days with his dogs and gets the cricketers out running, in Wollaton Park, up hills in Gotham: generally exploring Nottinghamshire’s open spaces.
4. Strength and conditioning within the context of developing a healthy lifestyle habit – a holistic approach.
5. A relentlessly Positive Approach – and consequences for anyone who demonstrates any negativity, such as the ‘c’ word! As Paul says, ‘How can anyone be negative after exercise? With all those positive endorphins flowing.
One of Paul’s best friends, The Late George Malacos, someone he met at University and with whom he played rugby, broke his neck in a swimming accident in 1988 leaving him a quadriplegic.
George’s positive attitude made Paul think, ‘What have I got to worry about?’ He brings this positive approach to everything and insists those he’s training do the same. He makes
them aware of their self-talk and insists players demonstrate a positive attitude in what they do, adopting the adage, ‘If you’re going to do something you may as well have a good attitude towards it’, or, ‘Change the situation or change your attitude towards it’.
Like many of us, Paul continuously backs up his thinking with quotes. These, from people in very different contexts, reinforce
Paul’s philosophy: “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl (Concentration cam survivor and author of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’)
‘Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.’ Michael Jordan (renowned as one of the worlds greatest ever basketball players.)
‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’ Maya Angelou (Author and poet with a writing career spanning over 60 years)
From training rugby players in Wales, Sydney and latterly the London Broncos to training Mumbai Indian cricketers in the ICL, Paul’s journey to Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club has been nothing if not varied. Yet he loves to run here with his magnificent Harlequin Great Danes. And
Paul is getting results in his role. As one of the players said, ‘My strength and fitness has improved so much in a short space of time’. Paul swapped the hills of Nottinghamshire for the sand dunes of Sydney over Christmas and New Year but retured, as enthusiastic as ever, in January to put the players through their paces running up our frosty hills following his passion:
‘I want to make all the people I train, not only fitter and stronger now, but help them become better people and healthy into later life’.