This week on the Way of Champions Podcast, we welcome Nick Winkelman, head of athletic performance & science for the Irish Rugby Football Union. He is also the author of The Language of Coaching, a book that focuses on the impact that communication has on an individual’s ability to learn and perform a movement. We discuss how Nick got into movement skill development, how we can assess if out athletes are learning, and we div deep into the idea of “queuing” athletes as coaches.
Nick’s primary role with the Irish Rugby Football Union is to oversee the delivery and development of strength & conditioning and sports science across all national (Men and Women) and provincial teams (Leinster, Munster, Connacht, and Ulster). Before working for Irish Rugby, Nick was the director of education and training systems for EXOS (formerly Athletes’ Performance), located in Phoenix, AZ. As the director of education, Nick oversaw the development and execution of all internal and external educational initiatives. As a performance coach, Nick oversaw the speed and assessment component of the EXOS NFL Combine Development Program and supported many athletes across the NFL, MLB, NBA, National Sports Organizations, and Military. Nick completed his PhD through Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions with a dissertation focus on motor skill learning and sprinting. Nick is a recognized speaker and consultant on human performance and coaching science and has numerous book chapters and peer reviewed papers focusing on the intersection between coaching language and athlete learning.
You can find him on Twitter @nickwinkelman or email him at [email protected]

Listen on, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher

Highlights from the Podcast:

  • Nick shares how he got into movement skill development
  • Where did the book “The Language of Coaching” come from?
  • How do we know if our athletes are actually learning?
  • “Attention is the currency of Learning.”
  • Nick breaks down the idea of “queuing”
  • Internal vs External queues
  • Crafting better queues for athlete development
  • Nick shares examples for queuing like “Rise like a Jet taking off”, “from head to heel, strong as steel” and “beat the bite”
  • The three Ds: Distance, Direction, and Description

Resources Mentioned


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Tagged under: coach development