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What to get right in the Pre-Season: 5 Minutes with Bo Hanson

Bo Hanson
Director and Lead Consultant

What to get right in the Pre-Season Transcript

Today we’re going to talk about the pre-season and the importance of getting some really critical aspects right. A lot of our clients here in Australia are embarking on yet another pre-season within the football codes and various other sports. One of the things we often talk about in regards to the pre-season is that it is a unique opportunity to set a framework that is going to see out your entire season. I’m always a big believer, whenever I do a presentation, I often do an exercise and we start by getting everyone on the same page by getting everyone to stand up and clap above their head. You really only get one opportunity to do that and essentially that’s what the pre-season is about.

In other videos we’ve done in the past, we’ve always talked about the GRIP Model and how that sets a framework for everything else. Really, our business is based on not over-complicating things and having different models for everything. It’s about knowing a few key models and doing those models exceptionally well.

So when we’re talking about the pre-season, we’re talking about using the GRIP Model. Essentially the pre-season is an opportunity to talk about your goals, and I know it’s something a lot of people talk about but the reality is that you can talk about it, but it’s not the same as having an in-depth conversation not just about the outcome you want to achieve because that’s a relatively short conversation, but the most important part of that conversation is determining the values and behaviors that will underpin the goal.

When we look at teams that are really successful, one of the questions we ask in our post-season review is when they talk about their values and behaviors we want an indication as to the degree to which they live those values and behaviors on a day to day basis. Often the difference between an 8 out of 10 and a 9 out of 10 is the difference between a winning season and a losing season. There’s not a lot of difference in sports between winning and losing, it comes down to tiny percentages that we talk about all the time. It’s one of the things we love about sport, but it’s also the frustrating thing about it.

So the critical part of the pre-season is that it’s that unique opportunity to get everyone on the same page and for them to have input – What are we going to be about this year? What’s our identity going to be? What’s our culture going to look like? What’s it going to sound like? How are we going to behave on a daily basis? What are our values that underpin our behaviors that are going to help us achieve our ultimate goals and objectives?

The next part within the GRIP process is talking about our roles on the team and as you know, if you’ve listened to any of the videos we’ve done in the past or read any articles on the GRIP Model, R stands for roles and when we talk about roles we’re going beyond just someone’s technical role and really focusing on how they’re going to add value to the team in terms of their non-technical role – Are they going to encourage others? Are they going to set a pace? Are they going to demand high standards? Are they going to hold other people accountable? Every role needs to be fulfilled and in your pre-season is your best opportunity to make sure that you have every role that you need on the team, because if you don’t have those roles you have an opportunity to educate and up skill people to play those roles or potentially even recruit someone to fulfill one of those positions.

We talk also about the Interpersonal Relationships and a quote that we often use is that “Team building is not an event, it’s a process.” Your pre-season is your best chance yet to establish some quality relationships and so doing things that are a little bit different. The whole point of doing things which are outside of the sporting domain is to truly understand people at a deeper level and the only way you can do that is to see them in a different environment and a different context. So successful teams will take time to, whether it’s going bowling together, going to coffee, going to lunch, dinner, do any number of experiential activities to appreciate the differences and similarities that exist between everyone. Of course we use the DISC Profile at this stage. In a perfect world, before a ball has been passed or a kick taken, everyone has done their profile and we spend time talking about how we’re similar, how we’re different and obviously how we can work together in a cohesive way. Most importantly, we’re trying to get that concept across – How can I be the best player for the team? Instead of me just focusing on how I can be the best player in the team. That is a vital quality that defines teamwork.

The final part of the GRIP Process is making sure that our Processes are correct and that they’re working well for us – How do we give feedback? How do we communicate with team members? What’s our standard of behavior? What’s our standard of dress? What’s our travel policy going to be? There are so many different processes that we have to take into account and understanding all of those processes and how they’re going to help or hinder us.

Once again, the pre-season is your best chance yet to embed the right behaviors and the right habits to create the right type of culture for you to get the right type of outcomes that you want.


At Athlete Assessments, we’re experts in the people side of sport. We know sport and live high performance every day. Our reputation and proven success at the elite level speaks for itself. The results that our National, Olympic, Professional and Collegiate team clients achieve directly reflects their focus on getting the people side right.

Looking to catch up?
You can watch all videos in the 5 Minutes with Bo Hanson series.

At Athlete Assessments we’re here to provide you with excellence in service and to help you be your best. If there is anything we can do to be of service, don’t hesitate to contact us.

You can watch all videos in the
5 Minutes with Bo Hanson series.

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