Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler spoke to members of the Australian Paralympic team, as they begin their campaign at the Tokyo Games.
There are 179 Australian athletes competing in 18 of the 22 sports on the Tokyo program, with competition underway from August 24 to September 5.
Fittler has joined an illustrious list of people to talk daily to staff, coaches and athletes on how to deal with pressure, tips on how to ensure your best performance, and how to be a team player.
“If you put all your efforts into your preparation it tends to ease your nervousness so when people talk about dealing with pressure, just put all your effort into your routine, into your training, into your practice, every day,” Fittler said.
The former Kangaroos rugby league captain has even found time to watch some of the swimming in Tokyo – particularly the 100m (S8) freestyle final with 20-year-old Ben Popham winning gold for Australia.
“I’ve got two teenage kids – a daughter who’s 17 and a son who is 15 – and they play sport,” Fittler said. “They got a huge kick out of the way he came home.
“Anyone with challenges – especially with the Paralympics they’re different types of challenges – to see the joy on his face, when he turned around, and worked out he’d won the race. It was awesome.”
Australian team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin, and Paralympics Australia CEO Lynne Anderson – former Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs chair – handpicked Fittler to be one of the daily speakers.
“It’s important for us to have prominent Australians so that our team understand there’s an amazing army of people back home in Australian cheering us on,” McLoughlin said.
“He’s not only been an elite athlete himself, played for his country, he’s been a team captain, and a coach... so he, out of anyone, understands what a large proportion of our Paralympic team are going through right now.
“So, it was really great to hear his insights. I liked what he said when asked how do you get over a loss. Brad said that while you go through your processes and routines, you also remember there’s blue sky up above.”
And while McLoughlin is a Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues fan, she is not that avid about any of Fittler’s former NRL connection – the Penrith Panthers or Sydney Roosters.
“Bring back the North Sydney Bears is all I’ll say,” she said.