Insights from one of Australia’s most successful sporting families!

USP - Insights from one of Australia's most successful sporting families

I was fortunate enough to watch Kurt Tippetts 150th game for the swans a few years ago. As I sat with Kurts parents and extended family at the SCG I couldn’t help but wonder how all 3 of Janet and Tony Tippetts children were professional athletes. 1 Kid as an a professional athlete is great, 2 kids as elite athletes is amazing, but 3 children that grow up to become 3 professional elite athletes is extraordinary!

Gretel Tippett has represented Australia for basketball and was recently named in the Australian netball team. Gretel has twice been named in the Super Netball Team of the Year, in 2018 and 2019. In the latter year she was also awarded the Liz Ellis Diamond, the most prestigious annual award in Australian netball, given to the player judged the best in both domestic and international netball throughout the calendar year.

Gretel Tippett dominating for Australia!

Older brother Joel plays for North Melbourne.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 17: Joel Tippett of the Kangaroos runs with the ball during the round nine AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on May 17, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Big brother Kurt plays for The swans.

Sydney Swans Star Kurt Tippett

My inquisitive nature got the best of me and we began to discuss how all siblings became elite athletes.

Was it Nature or nurture aka Environment or genetics?

This stuff interests me no end…after all I’ve been studying and applying it for more than half of my life!!

So I asked Tony, Kurt’s father what his thoughts were…

His answer came as a surprise…

“Mental toughness”…

Ok elaborate…

He said, “Joey, quite often it’s not the most talented athletes that get there, make it and sustain it…it’s the ones that are the mentally toughest…

For example very few juniors that dominate at junior level go on to dominate at the elite level ..and here’s why …

Usually the talented juniors have everything go their way…

They make rep teams…

They know they are the best and they expect to win…

But when they get to the elite professional ranks…it rarely happens…

They are competing against other extremely talented athletes..to win or for a place on the team..

Imagine..if you have been the 1st athlete picked in every team for the duration of your life…and the wake up call when you miss the cut for the team or during your competition you lose against a better opponent!

This is usually the first time they may have been beaten or left out-a situation they have never encountered before.

How will they respond?

This is where mindset is crucial!

And that’s where mental toughness cones in…

Whilst I was attending the International Sport Psychology Conference in Sydney way back in 2005 leading sport psychologist Carol Dweck spoke about the concept of a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset and said the athletes mindset would determine their greatness! Dweck has almost 30 years studying and applying sports performance achievement and success so I feel her opinion is valid!!

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. And you better hope it was developed when you were a youngster! Its this concept we espouse to our athletes. The harder and smarter we work the luckier we get!

So I asked Tony..how both him and Janet instilled mental toughness into their children!

He said, “Be honest with your kids…not better than they played or worse than they played…don’t see it better than they were or worse than they were..but see it how it truly is”…

Great advice is usually simple!

All the best,

Joey Hayes