Instead of coaching athletes for today’s outcomes, why not coach them in a way that prepares them to succeed in future seasons too? Teach them what they need to evolve as the game does too.  Join Russel Earnshaw and John Fletcher of the Magic Academy to hear more.

Enjoy the Show


Show Notes

4:15 When you treat people well, the positive results naturally arise

11:00 “My job as a coach is not to make the players hate me”

22:45 The C.A.R.D.S. approach to coaching

34:30 The Magic Academy Card System

56:15 When are the kids most engaged

1:05:00 How do you add a scenario to training


Getting in Touch


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @RusselEarnshaw



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John Fletcher

I would like to thank my family, friends and the thousands of people who have helped me get to this point. A combination of wonderful people and experiences that have supported and challenged me, mixed in with a variety of crucial yet difficult experiences have made me who and what I am today… unbelievably optimistic and positive about what everybody can achieve and obsessed with helping people fulfil their dreams and potential.

I was the boy that got up at 6.15am to deliver milk to my village every morning for 6 years. The boy that struggled in the class room to understand the point of sitting in rows and putting my hand up to answer question. The boy who struggled to connect with the teachers who just told me what to do. The same boy who excelled at sports and loved the environments created by all of my PE and Games staff and loved the responsibility of captaining teams and representing my school and best of all doing it with my mates. I loved the challenge to #BeatTheGame and loved that tummy churning exciting feeling the night before the game and the hours after the game that I would analyse the game over and over before drifting off the sleep.

As I stumbled from builder’s apprentice, through to insurance clerk and then onto printing, I finally found my calling (thanks to a drunk Danny Hodgson!) as Northumberland YDO…a job that I loved and that taught me so much. It was then onto Newcastle Falcons and my dream job of coaching the finest players from the North East in the Academy…

Academy Director followed and the first opportunity to work with my great friend Peter Walton. I then got elevated to the first team (with Walts) to replace Rob Andrew who had moved to Twickenham. A steep and enjoyable learning curve that ended in the valuable lesson of a sacking… an environment where I was told to make the players hate you was clearly not the environment for me. Next adventure was down to the RFU to work with Stuart Lancaster (still the best boss that I have ever had!). We plotted the direction of travel over copious amounts of Yorkshire tea at Scotch Corner Services and then I worked tirelessly developing a great Performance Pathway and a team of fantastic people. That brings me to today, after 10 hugely exciting and enjoyable years and sacking number two, to the most excited that I have ever been… To work with people who share my values, my moral compass and my passion to make a difference to people and their environments.

Hanging with Rusty is going to be inspiring, fun and I’m super excited for the adventure.

5 things that have influenced me the most:

  • Scouts
  • John Clarke (“Clanky” who gave lads like me a start in rugby)
  • Steve Black
  • Brian Lancaster (Brian Ashton and Stuart Lancaster) – couldn’t choose between them!
  • Being a Dad – thanks Oliver, Archie and Ted

Describe myself in 3 words – Enthusiastic Positive, Curious (if there was a 4th it would be funny)


Russel Earnshaw

“When it is time for you to leave this school, leave your job, or even leave this earth, you make sure you have worked hard to make sure it mattered you were even here” (Wes Moore ‘The Other Wes Moore’). My favourite quote ever!

In between the madness,I am always trying to better understand how a teenage boy with a paper-round in Middlesborough ended up where he is today. How and why did his story travel via Cambridge University and then the Premiership, allow him to win the European Cup, compete and coach for his country at both Commonwealth Games and World Cups, teach Economics by the sea for two years and spend time coaching and learning from some remarkable people.

I’m curious about and obsessed with helping people… I want to better understand how individuals and teams exceed their dreams, how learning environments are nurtured and what might be possible for us all in the future. How can people live the story they want…

… I am also partial to a bobble hat!

I’ve consulted with and delivered for Google, the FA, GB Hockey, British Triathlon, the Rugby Football League and British Swimming to name a few… often playing the part of the nutcase in their story!


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Tagged under: Coaching, core values, performance