The Barefoot Coach by Paddy Upton


Paddy Upton

  Coaching, Leadership, Management

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Forming a strong team culture and a fine work ethic

On the way to India, Coach Paddy Upton and Gary Kirsten had only two objectives — winning the 2011 World Cup and becoming number one in Tests.

Through this book, Upton reveals how he and coach Kirsten achieved these two objectives. Upton discusses how they formed a strong team culture and a fine work ethic.

This book sheds light on the principles of coaching, illustrates the complexities of the mind, and reveals that mentoring is not about preaching but it is about being one among the athletes, sharing their anxieties and lending idea.

Here's what can be learnt :


Endure Fear And Failure:

  • Failure is only temporary. 
  • Some things can never be in your control. Search for the things which are in your control and focus your time and energy on those.
  • What actions you take to overcome failure matter the most.
  • Embrace fear, get comfortable with it.


Know When To Coach And When Not To:

A piece of priceless advice that Dhoni once dished out to Upton — “It is not essential that you have to speak all the time.”


  • Permit individuals to speak at all levels.
  • Junior most people like Sanju Samson and Senior-most people like Praveen Thambe had equal opportunities to speak and share their experience and knowledge with the team. 


Team Culture:

  • Win or lose – There's always music running in the dressing room. Never let any moment become dry or gloomy.
  • Celebrate the best moments even if the team has lost the match.
  • Be humble.


Build Self Organizing Teams:

  • Team members decide how many hours to put in and what they would practise in a day instead of being instructed by their coach. 
  • Individuals know their bodies best. Some routines suit others better while some don't.
  • It is not always about winning but rather how well the team played the game.



  • Be thoroughly prepared 10 months before the world cup. Plan carefully, be mindful and always leave extra room for mental development.
  • Focus more on strengths, rather than draining all your energy over weaknesses.



  • Each team member is committed to giving their best and always support each other.

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