Andrew Russell hasn’t been back to his former secondary school in 23 years.
And he found quite a bit had changed since he last walked through the Ballarat Clarendon College doors, including a state-of-the-art fitness centre which even impressed the long-time Hawthorn Football Club head fitness coach.
“This is just unbelievable,” he said, as he gave a few expert tips to a PE class underway in the new facility.
Mr Russell was back at BCC for the first time since 1993 to speak to the year 12 students about being the best they could be.
“It’s about developing skills, life skills,” he said. “It’s about being the best at whatever they chose to do.
“To excel, you need to look at sleep, stress, mindset, performance and skills in life. It’s about how you train, how you live and how you think.”
Mr Russell said he followed his own mantra to get his personal energy source.
“It’s how I live my life and how I live my job. It’s about creating energy and motivation in athletes.
“It’s about getting them to show what they are good at. They seemed very receptive to it.”
He said a lot of what he spoke about was aligned to the BCC values and philosophies.
After Mr Russell finished at BCC, he attended the then University of Ballarat, gaining a Bachelor in Human Movement, before working in strength and conditioning at the Victorian Institute of Sport.
He then conducted the 1997 AFL draft camp before being headhunted by Kevin Sheedy to work at Essendon.
He spent four years at Port Adelaide, being appointed head fitness coach there at just 24, and moved to Hawthorn with fellow BCC alumni Alastair Clarkson when he became coach in 2005.
He was involved in the Essendon premiership of 2000, the Port Adelaide victory in 2004 and the Hawthorn triple-peat from 2013-15.
Year 12 students Chelsea Byrne and Tom Hallett said Mr Russell’s speech was “very, very good”.
“He didn’t just put it out from the perspective of an athlete but related it to anything in life,” Chelsea said.
“He had such a positive attitude and I left feeling really enlightened.”
Tom said Mr Russell brought a “lot of energy” to his speech.
“He used his strategies to help us with what we want to achieve,” Tom said.
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