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RealMOVEMENT Project changed the NRL – Brian Smith

RealMOVEMENT Project changed the NRL – Brian Smith

“An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less”.

I found this applied to myself when I read it about 20 years ago in the midst of my 30 years in a career of rugby league coaching. In my pursuit of coaching excellence and supreme attention to detail my focus became more narrow. My philosophy was always about developing the individual player. Every one of them.

“Sometimes the closer you get the less you see”. 

This too rang true in both my professional and personal life. The more I wanted things to be “right” it seemed, the further away from “right” I was moving. I am no longer that close.
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So I see these things even more clearly now in my life of quiet solitude on Little Mountain Farm.

Rising early, working physically hard most days, eating well (based on Paleo) with almost no processed foods and some grown here on the property, fresh free range eggs from our own hens and it’s all so easy. 61 and learning how to live a better life!

So you see, it all makes perfect sense to me, today, without the pressures of an all-consuming occupation in a very public place every day of my life.

What makes sense? 

Firstly the reason for my son Keegan’s incredible life path makes sense.

From his mid-teens he was always a little like myself as a teenager – in love with his chosen sport, hockey in his case. But more importantly seeing what was going on around him in a different way to his many friends and perhaps his own family, made him wonder. I can remember a look in his eyes one day as I glanced across at him in the big fancy sponsored car as we waited for the electronic double gates to our 2 acre property beautifully manicured 6 bedroom home. I think I know now that he was thinking as a teenager as I often did as an adult – do we really need all of this?

Acting on those feelings as he did in a most adventurous and at times, almost dangerous way across the world is a much longer story than this space allows and one better told by Keegan. Suffice to say I think I feel much like many parents of children who show such courage and commitment to their own life choices and endeavours. In my case I wish I had shown the same courage and commitment to go find out what the world was all about and what role to play in it.

He has a wonderful story and now a wonderful life with Kathi and Maya in a life of a truly loving family.

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Secondly it’s the basics of the lifestyle they live that makes so much sense to me. The natural and simplicity factors that are overlooked by most of us. We rush through our lives, becoming experts, focussing so hard, up so close wanting to find the new you beaut way to the top that sometimes swallows us whole.

We overlook the most obvious things.

Here is a simple example of all that in my life’s work as a professional sports coach.

Rugby League is an incredibly physically demanding game based on skills that are very difficult to master, played in a team environment where decision making and communication are vital to excellence – and winning at the professional level.

So much time, effort and money is devoted in every NRL club to improving and maximizing the physical aspects of every player in their squads. It’s not overstating the case that physical performance and the science that goes with it has dominated footy preparation for the past decade. If it’s not the latest piece of equipment or technological breakthrough it’s a fandangle new dietary supplement or regime.

For too many it’s a back to future application of insane and never-ending endurance sessions involving sand hills or thousands of sit-ups to prove how tough they are.

And so it goes on from one end of this crazy physical spectrum to the other, changing from one season to the next as the head coach brings with him a new “expert” to change it all up.

All the while very few responsible, just like me at my time at the wheel, have seen the simplest and most basic under-pinning factor in any athlete’s makeup – his or her basic health.

It’s just so obvious.

Putting a Ferrari’s expensive body on a cheap motor and wheels would be just plain stupid. No car manufacturer would think it wise. Yet there are millions of dollars being spent every season on all sorts of gadgetry and human resources trying to get the best out of players bodies with little or no acknowledgement shown for the role of proper nutrition or the removal of toxic and debilitating food, drinks and other substances from players daily ingestion. What about the individual health problems that players inevitably will have? They are not cars coming off a conveyor belt.

Various weight training regimes abound in the NRL. Some from time to time have little or no consideration for the athletic movements footy players need not only for excellent skill performance but also for injury prevention and longevity. The guy in charge might say they do but just a look at their bodies or perhaps a brief movement study shows that some or all of what they are claiming is not real or true in practice.

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The whole concept of Real Movement Project is sound because it is simple and has the ability to apply to almost any physical endeavour, I feel.

The inclusion and fundamental role of gymnastic movements and activities warms my heart as it takes me back to my days at college preparing for life as a PE teacher.

But so much has been learned since those days and not much from those days remains relevant to optimal health or physical development. Wow remember the five food group thing and the incredible value of carbs that we were taught in health classes – that is scary now! And no leg weights “cos it will make you slow” was another pearler.

These were a few from the 70s but there are hundreds more from the 80s 90s and 00s.

Reluctance to change plays a big role in human behavior, especially for we men and most definitely when we have been preaching something very different to what is now on the table of knowledge and in the results book.

So it’s natural that much of Real Movement Project is all very intimidating to many of my footy coaching generation. It’s even scary to some in their infancy as head coaches who feel they are up to speed with the latest fitness and nutrition routines. Those couple of NRL coaches who have been switched on to Real Movement Project have teams with ah huge advantage in many ways more than winning on the scoreboard.

The players who are being exposed to this way of living are more likely to finish their careers with better bodies and way better life habits as well as winning on the way.

And isn’t it great that even we mere mortals have the same potential to make improvements to our lives too. After all those footy players are living in a human body just like the rest of us. We all have the capacity and information now to maximize our bodies and lives in our own particular way.

I am so pleased and proud that Keegan finds such joy in sharing his story and knowledge through this way he has chosen to live his own life. For me it just a father’s delight that he too has chosen a career path as a coach in this most rewarding field.

What could be more rewarding than helping people to live maximal lives.

Brian Smith 

PS  It’s a grandfather’s delight that his beautiful little Maya is getting such a fantastic start to the incredible opportunities in her life.

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