15 April 2014

“I’ve always said that, more than any of the medals, the transformation of cycling in Britain is the single thing I’m most proud of having helped achieve” – Sir Dave Brailsford

I read last week that Dave Brailsford has stepped down as performance director of British Cycling after a pretty impressive 11 years. The impact he’s had, instilling a winning mentality in the minds of so many great cyclists, is epitomised by the number of Olympic medals Team GB have picked up under his leadership. And, like any good leader, he’s still remained humble, keen to applaud the great work of the staff he’s worked with and shift the focus onto the athletes who “ultimately deserve all the credit for their success”.

What we can really learn from his legacy though is how small, continuous improvements result in huge transformations and can really affect the bigger picture. Not only in his philosophy to cycling – where he focussed on bettering every aspect of an athlete’s performance, making tiny refinements that collectively amounted to one big overall improvement – but also in his approach to the sport as a whole.

Photo by British Cycling

Photo by British Cycling

I read a comment he made about his great delight at seeing cycling go from a “fringe activity” to a sport that more and more people wanted to get involved in. Whilst accolades and achievements are great, they should always be contributing to the attainment of a bigger, overarching goal, and I think this is something Dave has done incredibly well, and something that his successors will continue to build on.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what he achieves in his next venture, which looks to be with Team Sky. That being said, he’s also in demand from the world of football and will apparently be prepping the England Team in the run up to the World Cup. Whilst his area of expertise is cycling, I’m sure the players can learn from his commitment to raising the bar and preparing for challenges rigorously. It makes you wonder whether one individual is sometimes all it takes to transform a whole group. What do you think?

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