Strong Friends: From Banker to Coach & Entrepreneur
Meet Paddy Wright
I met Paddy while playing TAG Rugby in 2013 when he was in the midst of considering a career change. He was working in banking in The City and feeling like it wasn't for him anymore.
He trained with me at Evolve as a client for three years and then as a training partner, during which time he started a Degree in Nutritional Medicine and got qualified as a fellow PT.
Paddy also became involved in helping athletes transition after their professional sporting careers ended and, now back in Sydney, is working on his new business, The Final Whistle.
It has been so interesting watching him go through all of this upheaval and to find a place and a career that he really cares about. I spoke to him about his journey and, of course, training.
Tell me about the work that you do?
After moving back to Australia, I have been really fortunate to be involved in setting up a new business at The Final Whistle, which deals with helping athletes transition to life after sport, including physical aspects of transition. I am loving my job, which combines my passion for sport, health and fitness and my background in business.
What’s the story behind your career transition and starting your business?
After leaving finance, the health and fitness industry was screaming out to me. I had been thinking about making the change for a while and felt that it was the right time.
I started a Degree in Nutritional Medicine, of which I am now in my final year. I have done my Level 3 Personal Training, as well undertaking a 9-month mentorship with Head of Strength & Conditioning at England Sevens Rugby, Dan Howells.
The mentorship was fantastic, I was exposed to some high level and varied aspects of the industry, including practical experience with the England players. I am now involved with The Final Whistle, where we are developing plans across a number of areas to help with athlete career transition, including aspects of physical transition, such as S&C, Nutrition, Hormonal impacts and changes in the level of medical support.
Getting involved with The Final Whistle was something that started in London, where shortly after leaving the bank, I started working for the Rugby Business Network and started their Life After Rugby program. The transition from life after sport can be a really tough one and using my own past experiences in business in sport, as well as developing and expanding my network, the aim was to help make the transition a bit easier.
The primary aim of The Final Whistle is to help prepare and develop athletes, through tools, courses and coaching, for their life after sport. It’s never too early to start, with our firm belief that dual pathway athletes, whether through study or work, perform better on the pitch, in the pool or on the track.
What’s your sports or fitness background?
My main sport of choice has always been rugby, having played in both Australia and the UK. I also love surfing, having recently returned from Indonesia. Back in London, I played a lot of Tag Rugby.
Growing up in Sydney, I have always been very active and basically love doing anything that involves getting outside.
Since finishing playing rugby, I have become involved with coaching, having been Head of Strength & Conditioning at Bishops Stortford RFC and after returning to Australia I have begun coaching the Colts back at my old stomping ground, Easts Rugby Club.
What do you like most about working in the health & fitness industry?
After working at a desk in the finance industry for a number of years, making the transition into health and fitness was such an amazing release. Dealing with like minded people and getting to be a lot more active day to day was fantastic. I have already had some great experiences in the industry, having worked with the England Sevens Rugby team, the Team GB Wheelchair Rugby Paralympic squad and Performance Hertfordshire.
Who’s your inspiration in the industry?
Grace Brown, of course! [Note from Grace: I did not tell him to say that!!!]
Can you summarise your philosophy as a coach?
It's all about relationships and how you can develop them with your clients and colleagues. This is just as important as the specific training or coaching that I may do.
Everybody is different. The ability to relate to an individual or team will more likely lead to a development of trust and ultimately help them achieving. I, of course, do need to back this up with the correct guidance on my part, and ensuring I keep the client or teams interests first always.
Again, this applies to whether you are training someone in a gym, or helping with career and personal development in preparing for life after sport.
Do you have a favourite place to train?
I currently train mostly at Fitness First in Mosman. Not quite the same as training with Grace at Evolve in London, for quality of both training partner and facilities. I also take advantage of the climate being back in Sydney and get outside as much as possible, whether that is at the park, beach or pool.. Heading down for a surf at the beach, or a game of touch rugby in the park is pretty hard to beat.
Any advice to people wanting to start their career in fitness?
Or post rugby... Take your time to really figure out what it is that you want to do and what you want to achieve. Sit down and really think about it and plan it out. This applies to not just starting a career in fitness, but when embarking on any new career. Finding careers that really suit your interests and passions is a big part of what we are doing a The Final Whistle.
That is one mistake I probably made when I first started out is that I probably rushed into the first thing I saw and didn't have a clear enough plan. It takes only a small bit of time to do, but will ultimately save you a load of time down the track.
Once you figure this out, you can determine the best steps to go about things, know the right people to talk to, the best places to learn and the better environments to be in.
In saying that, it is also important to be adaptable, things don't always go according to plan, so it's always good to have a plan b, c and even d.
And finally, where’s your favourite place to eat in London?
Ozone at Old St - easily.
Find Paddy online and follow along with his career: