Cody Royle coach

088: Cody Royle on the reality of being a Head Coach

This week’s guest is Cody Royle. Cody is the head coach of Australian Football League Team Canada, the men’s national program for Australian Rules football. Cody is also an author and I would say fast becoming recognised as a pioneering voice about a topic that previously just hasn’t been communicated – that is the reality of being a Head Coach. In his recent book, The Tough Stuff, he explores the challenges of coaching in elite sport, but specifically the dynamics and perspectives, the difficulties and the pressures of being a HEAD coach. He ratifies his own feelings, in conversation with a series of top coaches too, such as Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons) and Stuart Lancaster (England Rugby), to name a few.

I can’t stress enough just how important this step change is in communicating the demands on coaches. There is a disproportionate and unwarranted expectation, storm of opinion and lack of support and empathy for the head coach. It is Cody’s petition that we all need to do better.

To give you a flavour of the book chapter titles which we delve into and build the conversation around, Your fiercest rival is yourself, you’re not a coach, Tactics don’t matter, Chapter 1 – everyone thinks you’re an idiot.

If anyone wants to work in or learn from high performance sport – I compel you to listen to what Cody has to say.


We have two copies of Cody’s book, The Tough Stuff to give away. Simply give an honest review of the podcast on iTunes (only new reviews accepted), take a screenshot of the review and email it to , by 31st May at 12 noon. Two reviewers chosen at random will receive a copy in the post. It could be one of the most worthwhile screenshots you take this year!

Enjoy the listen!

Notes on what we discuss

The Tough Stuff – ‘Everyone thinks you’re an idiot’

If we’re all performers why aren’t the coaches seen as performers?

The catalyst of the book

Coaches and the importance of self-care

Get. Some. Sleep!

Translating skills from assistant coach where the pressure’s off to head coach 

The brethren of understanding

Support structure for coaches      

You’re not a coach – being detached from our real identity

Changing the dialogue for mutual benefit

Follow Cody on Twitter

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