Andy McNab pod title

111: Andy McNab on special forces performance

This week’s guest is Andy McNab

Andy McNab is perhaps the most recognisable name of any special forces operator in the world. Andy served in the Royal Green Jackets in Northern Ireland where he was awarded the Military medal for gallantry, he entered the Special Air Services in 1984 and worked on both covert and overt operations including and drug operations in the Middle East and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland Andy is best know for commanding an 8 man SAS patrol designated Bravo Two Zero in Iraq, which he wrote about in the book bearing the same name. The book tells of a mission that was compromised leading to three of the eight dying and four (including Andy being captured, held and tortured for 6 weeks).

I wanted to talk to Andy about his choices to join the military, what selection is like for special forces applicants and what qualities are selected for. And Andy as you’d expect tells it like it is. There is a clarity of understanding about what is required, how you undertake highly specialised manoeuvres and how you achieve high-performance under the intensity of combat.

But this isn’t all just aggression and attack (although there is a bit of that). Listen carefully and you’ll hear a profound lessons in how you select people, how you train people to perform and how you deliver when it matters.

We also discuss the finding that Andy is a diagnosed psychopath, or more specifically a functioning psychopath, how he found out, what that meant for his military performance as well as how understanding that has helped him engage more effectively in day-to-day life. It was an honour to speak to Andy, not everything in special forces applies to our sporting and working lives, but here are some super interesting insights in this conversation – of which I have no doubt you could apply – it certainly, certainly offers a contrast. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.


Andy’s new book DOWN TO THE WIRE

Hi, I’m Steve Ingham Sports and Performance Scientist co-founder at Supporting Champions.

I have the privilege of supporting over 1000 athletes of which over 200 have gone on to win World or Olympic medals. For the last 25 years I’ve been fascinated by, researched and applied innovative ideas to help people succeed and now I want to share those performance strategies with you. I help aspiring and professional Performance Science and Support Staff improve their skills, experience and mindset for working with sports performers through a range of online courses and an exclusive community hub If you’re working in sports performance or business and want to get support to develop your team and systems – take a look at what I offer here –

Listen to the podcast

Links Twitter at

Supporting Champions on Twitter

Supporting Champions on Linkedin,