In the midst of Ireland’s Grand Slam winning Six Nations campaign, Johnny Sexton sat down to discuss the habits and mindset of an elite athlete on the FFS podcast in partnership with Pundit Arena.
Speaking on the FFS podcast, Johnny Sexton gave an extraordinary insight into the workings of an obsessive mind with the Leinster and Ireland out-half speaking in a jarringly honest manner about how he often struggles to sleep after poor kicking performances.
However, Sexton also dropped a wonderful little anecdote about the immediate impact Joe Schmidt had on his career when the pair first crossed paths at Leinster.
Discussing the ability to turn gruelling routines into a stored habit, Sexton revealed the first thing the Kiwi coach said to him back in 2010.
‘When you’re talking about habits and building them, I think you almost have to plan, like really well,‘ Sexton explained. ‘So like if it’s around your training or nutrition or whatever, you plan it so that you don’t have an excuse to forget about it.‘
So like I said if you miss a day or forget about a day, it’s very easy to fall back into the old ways whereas if you plan it really well, you stick to it.
And then almost, a few weeks later, you don’t have to plan it anymore, you just know. It’s ingrained in you.
Sexton first worked under Schmidt at Leinster before the 32-year-old headed to France only to link up with the New Zealander once again with Ireland. However, the out-half explained how it was something Schmidt told him back in 2010 that has stuck with him ever since.
“I think the first person that ever spoke to me about habits was Joe Schmidt when he first came into Leinster,‘ explained Sexton. ‘He used to have this phrase, ‘you are what you do every day’.”
When he first said it I was like ‘what is he talking about?’ You know, you are what you do every day. So, if you get up in the morning and you’re disciplined, or if you roll out of bed, and you just rock up to training with no plan or no preparation, that’s who you’re going to be. You’re going to be that sloppy individual come the weekend.
He (Schmidt) was the first person who started rubbing off on me that way and definitely changed the way I think. You know, I used to think you had a goal at the end of the season, which might be to win the Heineken Cup and you could kind of slack at certain times and peak at certain times.
But eventually I found out and his thing was, you know, ‘you are what you do everyday’ and it was always harped on. Like if you stack day on day on day, the Saturdays look after themselves. And if you stack four Saturdays in a row, the end of the season looks after itself.
Johnny Sexton was speaking on the FFS podcast powered by Pundit Arena and you can skip to the 16:00 mark in the podcast below to hear Grand Slam-winning out-half discussing all of the above.