10 Take Aways from Chris Judds Autobiography

USP - 10 Take aways from Chris Judd's Autobiography

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Chris Judds’ autobiography-Inside.
A fantastic read which I could not put down and basically read cover to cover over the weekend.

I feel it has some great practical insights for any young aspiring athletes, seasoned athletes and business people alike.

As arguably one of the best players to ever don a pair of football boots I feel it’s fair advice to heed!

I had my first glimpse of Chris Judd at West Coast Eagles training as part of my Masters degree in Exercise Science. I had the opportunity to conduct some of their players performance testing back in 2005 and was blown away by this athletic freak-Chris Judd. His physical performance testing scores were off the chart-from memory he had records in virtually categories. But what was more remarkable whilst having a chat to him was that he was more interested talking about anything other than footy. Naturally sensing that I progressed the conversation to what he felt he wanted to do after footy..his answer floored me..”study philosophy” I thought he was being a smart arse..but at that time, that’s what he thought he would do. Through his book you glean an insight into his complex inner workings as a human being trying to make sense of it all and developing his moral compass etc.

Whilst the book had many great anecdotes I feel these were 10 of the best for the young aspiring athlete. 

  • Talent is over-rated; Judd recalls the number of talented athletes he saw, come and go, but those less talented with persistence and work ethic were usually the ones who succeeded. He calls the ability to endure-stickability! And that any lazy athletes be moved on to other places. (Similar to our system at USP for Elite Athlete program-unless an athlete is willing to work hard as outlined in our interview and expectations the athletes are removed from our programs)
Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Won’t Work Hard!
  • As I have written about many times before the more sports an athlete plays the more varied motor qualities they will develop and ultimately will develop into a better athlete when they specialise in a particular sport. Judd played basketball, little athletics and cricket as well as football! Likewise USP Athlete Kurt Tippett played soccer, basketball and rugby union growing up.
Sydney Swans AFL Superstar and USP Athlete Kurt Tippett Played basketball, soccer and rugby union as a junior athlete before specializing in AFL
  • When Judd began to suffer from groin injuries he soon realised the short comings of the professional AFL Approach in terms of only seeing his AFL club medicos. He postulated how the club doctor, physio, strength and conditioning coaches could possibly be an expert in every single injury. Hence Judd sought independent advice from trusted experts in a multitude of areas (biomechanists, physio, chiros, yoga, pilates etc) to ensure he could maximise the most out of his body!
  • Judd gained confidence and self belief through his rigorous training, he believed that he was the fittest and he believed he had prepared better than anyone else. This belief in his body translated to his on-field performance. (We espouse this philosophy at out strongman camps-we are doing the specialised elite performance enhancement training whilst our competitors are sleeping in-when we meet we can have the belief that we will win!)
Strongman Crew getting the edge over their competition
  • When Judd was searching for a new team when he decided to leave West Coast. He looked for 4 main areas. 1. Club financial stability. 2 Football department and support personal.  3. A good young list or potential to be good! 4. It had to be a Melbourne based team.
  • Judd recounted the culture difference between West Coast and Carlton; and was blown away by the difference. He said at West Coast they expected to win and everyone trained accordingly, they were disciplined and all trained hard with the intent of winning a premiership. Conversely at Carlton (Wooden spooners) the players were simply hoping not to lose by too large a margin. Lesson-You get what you expect and deserve and train accordingly. At Carlton players were playing for a contract next year, not playing to win a premiership! Year upon year of finishing on the bottom has a much more destructive effect on culture than a handful of high draft picks could ever repair!

  • You can’t make yourself play better simply by thinking that you will. It’s the behaviour and habits on and off the field, at training, in everyday life, that grow from the way you view yourself.
  • Judd believes that coaches should use training as form of punishment. Instead believes that coaches and clubs should use the exclusion of training as a form of punishment for players that break team rules. Because he believes that those that don’t undertake training are actually letting the team down and are actually costing the team their chance to win and their chance to improve!
  • Judd recounted the story of a pre-season training camps with the blues that involved military style SAS tactics run by formers SAS ops. Sleep deprivation, hundreds of lunges, hundreds of push ups as detrimental to the football performance of the club. Like myself he believes that the club need to focus on doing things that are going to directly enhance the football performance of the club and that 3-5 days military style camps that many clubs do-are a waste of time and do little if anything to improve performance or team bonding. Especially when football specific skills and fitness are a club weakness.
Players warm up during the Gold Coast Suns Army training session at Canungra Army Base, Gold Coast on January 31, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
  • Another novel idea Judd presented was that he would not make training compulsory. He would have all the training sessions as done by choice. He said this process would actually weed out those players that wanted to be there and those that didn’t. It would allow the coaches and players that truly wanted to succeed to be there and those that didn’t would fall to the wayside very quickly!
Chris Judd was a massive proponent of strength work! His blistering acceleration and ability to burst thru tackles was elite!
  • If you don’t keep updating your game plan, devising new training methods and searching for improvement, others will and will overtake you. If you think it can’t be done any better than it is now, you’re kidding yourself! The quest for improvement is human nature.
USP Athlete and reigning AFLQ State League Grogan Medallist Best and Fairest AFL Player Callum Carseldine and USP Coach Joey Hayes have added 3 new performance enhancing strategies that no one else in the world is currently using!!
  • In Judds opinion there are 3 main reasons why people join football club boards-1. Ego 2. Frustrated ambition to coach 3. A strong desire to help. Be aware of your motivations to be involved with a footy club!
  • If a club merely plays follow the leader, it might get into the top 4, but it won’t win the premiership because other clubs will have found a new and better way of playing. As a strength and conditioning specialist I’m always looking for where the game is going and match my training methods to predict the way the game is going and what athletes need to be elite or for teams I coach to get the advantage over the competition!

All the best,

Joey Hayes