October 4th, 2011

  Tom is an exceptional performance coach. He inspires both the team, the coaches and has a greater understanding of what it means to be a good person.

We continually, under tom’s guidance, strived to be better people and this translated itself to the tremendous way the IKEY Tigers played the game. Tom’s care and nurture for his team allowed us to believe that we had what it takes and he was a critical member of the magical team that won the Varsity Cup 2014, in the “greatest rugby comeback of all time.”

Tom’s competitive nature, drive, enthusiasm and exceptional talent proved to be the invaluable difference between the UCT varsity cup team and the rest.

Tom drove this side of the campaign and even in losing we found a way on how to see the winning boxes to tick, which proved that we were winners no matter what. While the campaign was only won by a few inches, the value of the Dawson Squibb inch was imperative in the ultimate victory, not only as a team of players but as a band of brothers. We all ended the campaign closer and better people.

Tom pushed player and coach alike and we all ended up better due to his efforts.

Although a relatively new concept with regard to Rugby, the mental side of the game cannot be ignored and having a person as forward thinking and unique as Tom on board is an absolute must.

He is ahead of the game in his field and has a great feel for people and is able to connect on all levels. It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to work with Tom during this campaign.

Kevin Musikanth – UCT Ikey Tigers Varsity Cup head coach 2014 

  I have worked with Tom for a large part of 2015 and he has made a significant impact with his professional, innovative and effective mental training program at The Sharks Pty Ltd. Tom was entrusted with significant responsibility and he reached his key performance goals. I have had the opportunity of observing Tom’s interpersonal style and professional skills. He is consistently pleasant and takes on all his tasks with dedication and enthusiasm. Regardless of pressure, Tom always delivers with his superior organisational skills making him the consumate multi-tasker.

I know Tom will add value with any organisation that wishes to use him.

Gary Gold – Sharks Director of Rugby, Ex-Springbok Assistant coach

   I have been fortunate enough to have had the help and guidance of Tom Dawson-Squibb for almost three years now. As a player, Tom helped me to channel my energy and emotions and really grasp the concept of getting into the correct frame of mind or mental space required for the situation ahead. I have seen first-hand, the ability of Tom to address a struggling team and keep individuals within the team positive and happy to be in the team.

With Tom it is more about the process than the outcome. Tom has helped me as a leader for the past 2 years. I looked to Tom when my team was in a vulnerable and unmotivated position and Tom helped me to lead the team with great success. While the results may not have been the best last year, Tom ensured the bond and unity amongst the group was as high as ever. Tom always strives to ensure happiness within a team. Also, this year Tom was influential in UCT Ikey Tigers winning the varsity cup.

Tom once again showed his worth by rebuilding a broken team after the first game and turning us into a championship winning side. He showed me how to address team issues and always gave a helping hand in team practices and technical sessions.

Words cannot describe the impact Tom has had on the team, and personally my rugby. He is a person the whole team looks up to and he is truly irreplaceable.

After working with Tom, I do believe he has helped me to become a better person and a more rounded individual on and off the field. The addition of Tom Dawson-Squibb to any team would be extremely beneficial and his record speaks for itself.

Liam Slatem – UCT Ikey Tigers Varsity Cup captain 2013 & 2014 

The mind is the single most important factor that differentiates the performances even of the very best athletes. The problem is that we tend to spend all our time focusing on our bodies, rather than on our minds, in part because we have too few experts to help us learn about our minds. I have had the pleasure of working with Tom Dawson-Squibb during the Ikey Tigers successful 2011 Varsity Cup campaign. I have been impressed by his passion, his intellect, his obvious thirst for knowledge and his search for new ideas. He is not someone who is comfortable with a fixed way of educating athletes. Instead he tries continuously to improve himself and his craft.

Professor Tim Noakes – Sports Science Institute of South Africa

  What Craig gives immediately to the team is purpose and belief that high performance is possible. This culture is permeating through all the sides he has been dealing with and he delivers sessions where all boys feel they have achieved breakthroughs in the way they see their own and the teams’ performances. His dedication is undeniable and his commitment is whole hearted. Craig has proved an invaluable asset to hockey at SACS.

James Peverley – SACS 1st XI hockey coach

From the first day I came in contact with them I had the feeling that this was helping my team and to improve their performance. The programmes that Tom and Rowan made for us were great. They placed importance in the performance of the first team primarily. Individual work with players and staff, or work in smaller groups also helped individuals to perform better within the team. I feel that this helped us a lot.

Maarten Steklenburg – Former Ajax Cape Town former head coach

  Toms understanding of people is phenomenal, along with this he possesses the skills to mould an individual and a team to accomplish a lot more then they possible could without his influence. Nowhere is this more evident then his pivotal role he played in the 2014 Ikey Tigers comeback in the Varsity Cup final. The club owes that victory to him.

Guy Alexander – UCT Rugby Captain, Former Sharks u21 Captain

  A mental coach is something I’ve never had before and something I’ve given little,  if any thought to. But Tom has brought was something completely different: an  objective way of thinking, what you can control and what to leave completely out the  picture. The time spent with him has helped us build on something deeper, something  that plays a bigger role in a sportsman’s world than most people realise.

Francois Louw – Springboks and Bath rugby player

As National Coach of the South African Ladies golf team, we have had the privilege of working with Tom while preparing the Team for the ultimate championship in amateur golf, the Espirito Santos World Amateur Team Championship. It has been a great learning experience for me personally as coach but more importantly Tom has brought a team together and has inspired each of them to WIN, and has taught us how to deal with different pressure situations and to understand that we have a choice in absolutely everything we do in life.  Thank you Tom it has been a journey that has taught us a great deal and we look forward to the future journeys with you.

Val Holland – SA National Women’s golf coach

  I have had the privilege of working with Tom since I arrived back with the Stormers in February 2011. It has been a great learning experience for me – he has helped me personally with how to deal with different pressure situations, as well as better understand the psychological choices we need to make in order to succeed. Tom is very hard working and passionate about what he does. He has worked tirelessly throughout the season with individuals including myself as well as the team as a whole. He was very confident in his work and always in control when presenting to the group.

Peter Grant – Springbok and Stormers rugby player

I have been working with Tom for the last 4 years and I can say that without a doubt, if it were not for the countless hours we have worked together, my life would be very different. Firstly I would not be a professional rugby player- I do not have the freakish talent or outlandish genetics and secondly I would not have been able to win trophies in the professional environment. In professional sport all athletes train extremely hard and are coached by experts, but it is your mental strength and state that will win your game or beat your opponent.

I think the most important thing about Tom is that he knows how to win. His competitive nature is a great asset to his work. In the last 3 years I have been part of 3 different teams and have won 3 trophies – Tom was extremely involved in all 3 campaigns, working with the team as a whole and on a 1 on 1 basis with all the players. Working with Tom is always fun and enjoyable; he has an amazing gift of bringing a team together and creating a positive environment. I still to this day regularly work with Tom to strengthen and refine parts of my game. If I were a coach , Tom would be the first person I would hire.

Nic Groom – Stormers and WP rugby player

Tom played such a fundamental role in our campaign, and got all the players believing in themselves and their goals. He pulled us together in such a positive, and enjoyable way. The mental aspect of sport is an art, and it takes great planning and passion to get guys of totally different cultures and backgrounds to believe in one common goal. It gives me great pleasure to work with Tom, and to learn from him. He has an amazing gift and our campaign was a success due to his commitment and passion.

Kevin Foote – Current Western Force and former UCT Ikey Tigers Varsity Cup rugby coach

The first thing Head Start helped with was to help me define my short and long term goals in the game. It’s important to understand where you are and where you believe your ambitions lie. They helped me to identify my weaknesses and together we analyzed ways to deal with them and turn them into strengths. They taught me how to focus at the right time by getting into a zone that would keep me in a trigger state of mind to get the required results. Through these sessions, I learned that the majority of success in cricket is directly related into the amount of effort you put into your practices.

Michael Rippon – Cape Cobras cricketer

“ The way we have been ‘taught’ has always had a few underlying themes which are very significant to me: you have always challenged us to think independently, find it within ourselves to solve big problems and provoked self-development beyond the session. This constant factor that influenced our thoughts made it much easier for us to resolve problems, make big decisions, align our actions in search of common aspirations and have that mental edge over every opponent we faced. The mental edge and commonly aligned aspirations make PRG Hockey the competitor it is, I take my hat off to you and Headstart Sport for provoking so much excellence among our team.

Ultimately, your involvement in our lives, especially at the current developmental stage we face, shaped us in a way that few young men could be. Sport teaches you many things about yourself personally and that is why many enjoy it. I think your involvement within our team captures the true essence of the purpose of sport – to develop excellent, competent and independent young men and women, who have the ability to succeed on any platform they are faced with.”

Wouter Bezuidenhout – Paul Roos Hockey captain

It was so refreshing to work on a part of the game that coaches and players normally discard, the mental side. Tom started working with us in a really crucial stage of the season, and our results proved that we were mentally stronger and more ready than our opposition. While working with Tom, we beat The Bulls twice, The Sharks and Free State. We didn’t loose a game. We won the U21 Currie Cup competition, and the consensus was that every player felt more mentally ready and confident after Tom joined us. We didn’t think it was possible to loose.”

Nick Koster – Former Stormers and current Bristol rugby player 

“In working with Tom we experienced that he:

  • makes you comfortable to discuss challenges which we might experience with each other
  • - able to problem solve creatively and identifies solutions
  • - creates respect amongst everyone through intellectual and stimulating conversation
  • - challenges your opinion with healthy suggestions
  • - adds value to everyone and leaves you with positive mindset
  • - is always open and available to discuss the way forward as well as constructive feedback

Neville Rothman – Paul Roos, Maties and SA u18 Hockey coach