Geraint Ashton-Jones

Geraint Ashton-Jones

The conditioning of champions - The Royal Navy Director of Rugby reveals the training tips that led his team to victory in the Babcock Inter Services Championship 2010.

Respect equals success

We have a huge amount of respect for each other in the squad. I respect what the team are trying to achieve as players and through my tough training sessions I think the players respect me and what I'm trying to achieve.

If you're going to empower a player you need to do it properly. Let them make their own decisions, but inform them so that they can make the right decisions more often.

Fight to win

Like anything in life, you get out what you put in. Training sessions are not easy for a good reason. Winning the Babcock Inter Services Championship isn't easy. The players take on these routines and they give 100%.

Mind over matter

Mental preparation is more than half the battle. On paper, there's not much between rugby players. It's how they deal with the mental side that counts. We worked very hard on that this season. We acquired some outside support, put some structures in place and by the end of training we had 22 players who had a real belief that they could win.

A winning attitude

I've been privileged to work with a group of players and back room staff whose attitude is the reason that they're enjoying success this season. In the Inter Services 2010 Championship match against the Army, we were close to losing the game. In games like that it's about very small margins. Why do the guys want to work for each other? Because they all have a winning attitude and a set of values which all three of the armed forces champion. That attitude makes you realise your goals as opposed to falling agonisingly short.

Overcoming adversity

If your goal is a valid and worthwhile goal, it's never going to be a straight course to achieving it. What marks success for people is not what they're doing when they're winning, it's when they get knocked back. We got knocked back in previous years and that's why we appreciated the Inter Services 2010 Championship victory a little bit more. We got ourselves back in the game and back on to the winning round.

True team

Teamwork is part of the very essence of being in the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines. We depend on teamwork in our professional lives in life or death situations such as those in Afghanistan. In sport, it's treating the players and the back room staff with respect. It doesn't matter if you contribute five pieces to the jigsaw or one piece, the jigsaw isn't complete without everybody's contribution.

You enjoy each other's success more when you're a true team. It's not just the journey getting to the pitch, it's the rewards that you reap afterwards.

Do it all again

The next job that we have to face is to retain our title. That's a hard job and that's what we're working towards. We've tweaked the tiger's tail! It's a three way competition, but that's part of the enjoyment.


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Former Welsh international rugby player

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