James is an English rugby union player who currently plays for and captains Wasps in the Aviva Premiership and internationally for England. Coming from America, it took me years to really get a hold on what Rugby is all about. If you are like me or you are watching this from across the pond, you will understand rugby, and the life of a high performance sportsman a lot better after listening to James. It is fascinating to hear that James never really had ambitions to be a professional player. Although his father took him to Wasps games religiously, James was a bit of an all rounder. It was only when he got to university age that he had to make a decision, and after getting his contract he never looked back. Today, James is an ideal ambassador for rugby. Not content to be just a player, he now has his own sports coaching business offering pros advice on nutrition and performance supplements. One of things I think even non-rugby fans will enjoy about James is his ideas on sports psychology. Like all high performance people, he believes a large part of winning and staying on your game is in the psychology. James tells me that early in his career he struggled to find consistency in his performances, but his work with sports psychology has helped him develop ways of putting him in the right place to get out on the field and do the job well every time. His secret? Well, you’ll have to watch the conversation! All I can say is that it is not what you think, and James has now developed a love of dance music‚ James is a methodical mind, and he has spent years cultivating the psychological discipline to prepare himself for a sport that is as brutal as it is fast. I recommend anyone who struggles with consistency and discipline to pay close attention to how James has overcome these issues in his own life. It is fascinating. Rugby is a traditional sport in the UK, but in terms of commercial viability it struggles in comparison to soccer, and you can’t really compare the crowds to NFL. Like I say to James during our conversation, it kind of reminds of MMA 15 years ago. A fringe sport, that has now become a leading discipline in terms of fitness, nutrition and making money. James has some interesting ideas about the way rugby will develop. His career has seen it go through a lot of changes, and at times it seems to the emphasis on physical size is too much. But he thinks more attention will put on technique, footwork and psychology in the coming years, and it was really interesting to hear his predictions for a sport that is still evolving as a professional discipline. You could be forgiven for thinking that James Haskell is a big friendly giant. He is in a lot of ways. He’s big, he’s a great conversationalist, and very personable. But James captains a top rugby team, and week in week out he puts his body through unthinkable amounts of stress. All this and he has to lead a pack of 30 alpha males through the process. What fascinates me about James is how he deals with these pressures. James has a solid personality. I mean, this is a guy who loves himself. If you want to know how to deal with the haters, handle stress and assert yourself in your place of work, you could do a lot worse than listen to James. How he handles “banter” with other players is hilarious. When you effectively go to war with testosterone charged men every week, you need to know how to give as good as you get, and James is comfortable enough with himself to do just that. Keep an ear out for James’s ideas of leadership too. James has a lot to say about integrity and leading by example, and it is these qualities that have made him a successful businessman as well as a high performance sportsman. It was a real pleasure to have this gentleman in the studio. He is smart, successful, and as we like to say here in Britain he is a “good laugh”. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much I did, and I look forward to James’s return to London Real.