Interview With Brian Moylett – Author of “The Book on How You Become a Pro Rugby Player”
BCRN: Hi, Brian I see you have a new book coming out called, “The Book on How You Become a Pro Rugby Player” the tagline states, “Develop Your Mental Strength, Play in the Zone, and Get Paid to Play”. Tell us a bit about your background in this area and where you got the idea for the book.
Brian: I started learning about the importance of the mental side of the game when I was in the Ireland u18 squad in 09/10. Like most young players I dreamt about representing my country growing up, and I always thought that you just had to work hard on the field and in the gym, and then success would come. That’s what I was told, so I worked as hard as I could throughout my teenage years. I worked my way up through teams, I played with my province and then was called up to the Irish squad. I was on the cusp of achieving the dream I had worked so hard for, for years, but one day in national camp I just lost all confidence in myself, self doubt took over and I froze. At that moment in time, on the biggest stage I could have been on, it didn’t matter that I had put the work in in the gym and on the field, my mindset held me back. I had never done any work on my mental preparation, because I didn’t know I needed to, or even what it was. But after that massive setback I realised that if I were to achieve the things that I wanted to on the field I needed to become more resilient mentally. This set me on a journey over the last decade studying the mind, putting the practices I learned into place myself on the field, and in recent times helping young players through www.offfieldrugby.com and my instagram @offfieldrugby.
I’m an avid reader and my bookshelf is behind me when I’m recording podcasts for The Off-Field Rugby Pod, and also when I’m doing zoom meetings. About a year ago I was working 1:1 with a player over zoom and they asked me, “what book would you recommend I read to help me with my mindset for rugby?”. There were lots of great books behind me, but none were specifically what he needed, and that’s when the idea for “The Book on How You Become a Pro Rugby Player” came about. There are obviously so many great books you can read but there are no other books that are written for ambitious rugby players who want to overcome setbacks, develop their self-confidence and play at higher levels. So I said I’d write that book! The strategies and frameworks in the book will help every young player feel unstoppable on the field and unleash their potential. My friend and old teammate Robbie Henshaw (Leinster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions player) also was keen to share some insights in the book so he wrote the foreword, and gives some brilliant advice.
BCRN: It definitely seems to fill a niche and coming from a professional rugby nation and then playing rugby in BC, you seem to have a unique perspective to draw on. My interest is piqued for sure. I’ll put you on the spot and ask you to share your favourite paragraph in the book and tell us why it’s your favourite.
Brian: The lines below are from the end of chapter 17. I like this because a big mistake I often see players making is thinking “I’ll be happy when…”. I’ll be happy when I make this team, or when we win this cup. When you’re in the habit of thinking this way you’ll never be happy. It’s so important to enjoy where you’re at right now. Yes you should have big goals and dreams for the future, but don’t lose sight of why you started playing the game. When you stop worrying about the future and enjoy the moment you’re in you’ll enjoy your rugby and everything will flow from there. When I look back at my own journey, playing mini rugby in my home town was as much fun at the time as it was representing my country years later. Don’t be waiting for the next thing, enjoy where you are right now!
Happiness comes from pursuing something that you love, having a goal, and giving your absolute best effort in achieving that goal. Happiness is not when you achieve the goal.
The Journey is the Destination. Enjoy every stage of your the Journey.
Focus on being the best version of yourself today, and enjoying what youre doing.
BCRN: We’ve watched you transition from a top #8 with the Ravens to a coaching role, concentrating on the mental aspect of performance. Your instagram account (@offfieldrugby) mentions you “Help Young Ambitious Players get their Mindset Right”. How has the response been with the youth in BC and are you seeing any results?
Brian: The response has been incredible here in BC which I’m delighted with. I work with a number of local players 1:1 and I’m also involved with a few different teams. I work with players and teams all over the world but it’s certainly nice to be able to meet people face to face, so I’m really glad there’s lots of ambitious people in the rugby community here in BC that understand the importance that mental preparation has in having success. Last summer I worked with the BC u18s as a mental skills coach and we had an unbeaten campaign to win the Western Championships. They were a great group to work with and I really enjoyed helping them get their mindset right during the campaign.
BCRN: The book obviously covers the mental aspects needed to turn pro but does it cover any of the practical aspects, like where to look, which leagues offer the best opportunity, doing up a video highlights reel or choosing an agent?
Brian: Yes, it covers all of the above! Sections 1 & 2 are geared around helping you develop your self belief, overcome setbacks and play in the zone. Section 3 is called “Getting Paid to Play”, and it shows you exactly what to do to make that happen. Chapter 14 breaks down for you the different opportunities and pathway systems in different countries, and how you get involved in them. Chapter 15 shows you how to get an agent, and what to look for so that you get a good one. Chapter 16 tells you everything you need to know about making a highlights tape. I’ve seen people make simple mistakes here which are ultimately so costly. In the book I share some tips that will help you catch the eyes of the right people!
BCRN: Again I’m going to put you on the spot. How would you rate the various pro leagues around the world if you had to rank them? France Top 14, Pro D2; England Premier, Championship; NZ Super Rugby, NPC, SA Currie Cup, Europe United, North America MLR. Where are the best entry points for players?
Brian: With the emergence of the MLR, there’s no better time for young Canadian players to go and become full time pros. The opportunity that MLR offers is incredible, and is definitely the best entry point for North American players. I work with players in the MLR and also some on the cusp. I helped my younger brother get drafted by the Seattle Seawolves this year, so I’m excited about what’s happening there and would really encourage local BC players to look at that route. When it comes to ranking leagues world wide, the leagues in the Tier 1 nations are definitely more professional, with more funding than those in Tier 2. Then, which is best, comes down to personal opinion! Personally, I like watching Connacht and Leinster in the URC as those were the two provinces I represented when I was younger!
BCRN: One last question, going back to the theme of the book and Mental Strength. We see many top teams now have a Mental Skills Coach, how would you sum up the importance of the mental part of the game, compared to the physical aspect.
Brian: The mental side is vitally important. As a player you want to be going out onto the field full of confidence and feeling unstoppable. When you put the work in on the mental side of preparation you can play in the zone every time you step onto the field. The book clearly shows you how you get there, and that’s when the game starts to seem easy and you play your best rugby. When rugby went professional teams hired strength and conditioning coaches because they realised that’s where they could gain a competitive advantage. Today the best teams, and players, realise that the mental side of the game is where you can get an edge, so yes we see so many top teams hiring mental skills coaches. Also though I see it more and more now in my own work that teams at every level understand the importance of the mental side, in being able to overcome setbacks, have self belief and being resilient on the field. Lots of school and club teams nowadays will do mental skills sessions over zoom periodically throughout the season. It’s great to see teams at that level investing in their players mental preparation because the skills learned help players in life as well as rugby.
BCRN: Thanks Brian, best wishes on the book, we’ll look forward to reading it when it’s available. If you could mention the various ways people can hold of a copy, that would be great.
The book has just come out in the last week and it’s available on Amazon. Here’s the link https://www.amazon.ca/Book-How-Become-Rugby-Player-ebook/dp/B0BKDSHJ2H/ref=zg_bs_959644_sccl_1/143-1180697-8965124?pd_rd_i=B0BKDSHJ2H&psc=1