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About The Author

Dr. Fergus Connolly is the Director of Performance and Director of Operations at University of Michigan Football and the author of Game Changer. He has worked with teams in the NFL, NBA, Premier League soccer, the Welsh national rugby team and British and American Special Forces.

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Recent Posts



A Coach’s Real-World Apprenticeship: Life-Changing Lessons 3 Coaching Masters Taught Me

By Fergus Connolly | Wed, Feb 27

Lesson #1: Treat Every Game as an Away Game

I was sitting across the desk from a Special Forces officer as the summer sun lit up his unassuming office. For the next hour, we shared lessons and philosophy on the selection and preparation of elite performers. This commander was responsible for the selection process of an elite Special Operations group.

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School’s in Session – 3 Life Lessons I Learned from the World’s Best Coaches

By Fergus Connolly | Wed, Jan 23

You can learn a lot about technique, exercise selection, and programming from coaches who’ve walked the walk, particularly when they’ve been practicing their craft for more years than you’ve been alive. But in my real-life apprenticeship, the biggest lessons I learned from masters like Dan Pfaff, Ashley Jones, and Charlie Francis (as well as leaders in the special forces and business communities) were about how to be a better leader, communicator, and person.

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Let’s Get (Beyond the) Physical: Simultaneously Develop Athletes’ Technical, Tactical, and Psychological Traits

By Fergus Connolly | Mon, Jun 25

Professional sports leagues across the globe look at youth talent in many different ways. Sometimes development programs appear very sophisticated and detailed, while in other cases they seem a lot simpler. At rugby and soccer clubs around the world, kids start in under-7, under-9, or under-11 junior teams and either rise through the ranks in the academy system or get snapped up at increasingly young ages by larger clubs offering the promise of a professional career.

In these sports, physical qualities are important. But in successful countries they’re always secondary to the technical and tactical adeptness youth coaches and scouts look for. They’re typically assessing young talent in the most real-world scenario in sports: the game itself.

So, to a large degree, what they’re seeing is what they’re getting, with technical, tactical, physical, and psychological elements being simultaneously expressed through skills on the pitch as players on both teams try to stick to their coaches’ game plans while dealing with the inevitable randomness and chaos of the game as it arises in a dynamic, ever-evolving system.

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