The return of the Championship means the return of Jim McGuinness: last weekend he returned to his role as a columnist with the Irish Times, and he will also be back on our screens as an analyst with Sky Sports. The official announcement of Sky's coverage of the forthcoming season took place today, with McGuinness among those to speak to the media.
He sat down at Croke Park with Off The Ball's Joe Molloy for a radio interview, and over the course of the conversation, McGuinness gave a piece of advice that should strike a chord with every sportsperson, or indeed anyone with ambition in any line of work.
Molloy read McGuinness a passage from his book, in which he demanded 100% effort from his players at their first session together. He interrupted a simple sprinting drill between cones, and said the following:
'Didn't we agree to go all out? Then why are we giving 80%? Is that as hard as you can run? Are you telling me that's hard as you can run? No. Then what's holding you back? Why go 80% when deep down you want to go 100%?'
Then we go again, and we keep stopping and starting until we knew we were moving at the absolute maximum their bodies could give. Part of it was to improve fitness, but more important was to shake off their inhibitions, and just go for it. People are afraid. People are afraid to just leave it all out there in case they are judged negatively. It's human nature.
We hold back, even though the most exhilarating and liberating thing you can do in your life is just to put yourself out there.
McGuinness confirmed Molloy's suspicion that this is a core belief, and called that moment the "benchmark moment" in his reign. McGuinness revealed that he knew what level of effort they were giving because he simply asked them to give their effort as a percentage.
It ended in McGuinness asking them: "what the hell is holding you back from going 100%, what's the worst that can happen?".
Molloy interjected: "I think people don't want to say, 'that's the best I can do' if they fail".
McGuinness then offered his advice:
My take on it would be that people are afraid to give everything they have and fail. Because then they are failure. But if people can say, 'you know what, I still have 10% left within me to give, so I'm not a failure'. But there is nothing wrong with failure if you give your all. Nothing.
Listen to the full interview over on Newstalk.com.