Cheika taking tips from Cirque du Soleil, AFL

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika might be drawing on wisdom from Cirque du Soleil, NFL and AFL in 2018.

Cheika was part of a group of coaches from around the world who met in Minneapolis last week for a conference ahead of the Super Bowl, with the mentors sharing ideas and strategies.

Aside from Cheika, some of the coaches in attendance included England football coach Gareth Southgate, four-time AFL premiership-winning Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson and trainers from the internationally-renowned Cirque du Soleil.

Cheika said the conference was a valuable chance to take a different look at various training methods.

The Wallabies might be taking preparation hints from Cirque du Soleil. Photo: Getty Images“It’s funny, you’ve got to go around the world to meet some of your own. I thought the AFL guys were excellent,” he said.

“I was very impressed with Gareth Southgate in a very,very difficult job, I thought he had outstanding things to say.

"(It was)  just different perspectives – the NFL coaches, (their approach) is totally different to how our attitudes have been towards the game.

“(It was) just lots of little things around lead-in, performance, preparation, all that type of stuff that you can turn and try to make your own program a bit better.”

Cheika said even though the Cirque du Soleil performers mightn’t seem too similar to rugby’s athletes, some of their views were the most valuable.

“I was totally surprised to see someone like that there but you think about it, gymnasts, they’re all athletes and (it’s about) how they work performance," he said

“He probably added to the (discussion as much as anyone), because it’s so different to what we would do – it’s just little things and if you get exposed to different points of view or different ideas, it’s only going to make you better, you’re not going to lose from it.

“We’ll keep talking, that’s the way that conference system works, everyone stays connected and keeps talking.

“They’re just the little things that you might be able to make different or improve or make more special on the odd occasion.”