Men’s 7s and Strength with Scott Curry
What got you into 7s and how does it feel to be playing for New Zealand?
I always wanted to play Rugby since I was a kid. I played through high school and into University. At University I represented an under 20s side and Sir Gordon Tietjens saw me one day, invited me to a few camps, and after a couple of years I made the team. I really just love sevens – there is more space on the field to express yourself. The game is also a huge fitness challenge. Everything you do is under a microscope – the smallest error can have a huge effect. You’re a lot more exposed out there. It’s pretty special to have the support of your country. It’s a massive privilege. Representing your country is not something I take lightly. I am always reminded of who I/m representing and I’m proud to wear the black jersey, and have the fern on my chest.
How is mental strength important?
This is an undervalued part of the game – especially from an outside perspective. The payers put a lot of effort into achieving this, for example, they work a lot with a mental strength coaches. We work to play from courage – to have the confidence to play from instinct, not over think things, but rather let our skill do the work. It’s almost like you are unconscious, or just using your subconscious – sometimes you get to the end of a game and you don’t really know what has happened. You ignore any distractions. Go to a place of zen. You can’t hear anything else. When the ball is in play you’re in a single headspace.
Does experience help when it comes to mental strength?
Well it takes a lot of experience to achieve this headspace. Often I just take a deep breath before I goes out onto the pitch. Doing something really well like a magic pass or a tackle gets you into the headspace. Every player has a different mind-set that they need to be in to perform at their best - some people need to be hyped up. For me, I need to be calm, I also need to have aggression, but it must be a controlled aggression – Experience makes me understand this need.
What makes the game of 7s so enjoyable?
You’re always hunting for those special parts of the game, like the perfect tackle. High-pressure situations like the Olympics are why I play the game, but I don’t worry about the outcome, but rather just what I have to do. There is also a huge history around Rugby in this country, which adds to the team culture.
Is team culture important?
Team culture is a huge part of it. Everyone spends a lot of time together. Although there are always going to be differences of opinion & personalities – you know that when you step out onto that pitch the man next to you has your back. There is a trust that the guy next to you is going to do his best. Anyone that doesn’t buy into the team culture don’t really last long – even if they have all of the talent in the world.