Jonny Wilkinson on High Performance Podcast: What advice he'd give to teenage self


Professional sports careers rarely come much better than that of Jonny Wilkinson.

The superstar fly-half is a member of the World Rugby Hall Of Fame, with 91 England caps to his credit.

No doubt the most memorable of those appearances, though, will have been his performance in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. Wilkinson famously scored a drop goal in the dying moments of extra-time to win the trophy for England at the expense of Australia.

Not content with that historic victory, Wilkinson returned four years later to try and help guide his country to another success. Although England would fall short in the 2007 World Cup final, Wilkinson remains the all-time record-holder for the most points scored at the tournament with 277.

Aside from his glittering international career, Wilkinson also experienced success at club level, winning two Heineken Cups and one Top 14 Championship during his time at Toulon.

Just how, though, did Wilkinson keep himself motivated to continue to perform at the highest level throughout his career?

During an appearance on Jake Humphrey’s High Performance Podcast, Wilkinson was asked about what piece of advice he would give to his younger self.


In response, Wilkinson spoke of how important his passion for the game and desire to constantly evolve as a player had been.

“There’s nothing more powerful than passion, excitement and a willingness to learn. That comes in the same basis of curiosity, it would be those opportunities that I would constantly probe at.

“I would challenge constantly to be like, ‘Right, so where’s the opportunity in this?’ I would move away from the dead end of ‘I’ve worked this out’, and move back to the space of, ‘I can use that to see what’s possible’. That’s what I’d do. Just ignite – or continue – to keep that passion burning.”

This outlook is something Wilkinson admitted he has retained in his post-playing career as well.


He told the podcast: “When I called it a day with rugby, one of the things I remember saying to someone was that the passion has been replaced by pressure.”

However, Wilkinson soon realised that it had been his own high expectations that had brought the pressure – even in his playing days.

“I’d call it that as if it was the game’s fault for holding up banners with my name (in the crowd), or writing in the paper about what I was going to do and couldn’t bear it. But it (the pressure) was mine.”

Wilkinson’s advice to youngsters starting out in the sporting world, though, is clear; never lose sight of your passion.

“It was my pressure covering up my passion. I say keep that passion alive and anything’s possible.”

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