Brad Sewell Interview

Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell is widely regarded as one of the superstars of the modern AFL competition, having played a key role in the club’s 2008 premiership victory.

While Brad’s success in the world of sport is richly deserved, it didn’t come easily. Forging a career as a professional athlete takes focus and dedication, but it also requires you to think about what you’d be doing if you could no longer compete.

ISMYCV sat down with Brad Sewell to talk about sport, success and life after football.

Thanks for giving us your time, Brad. I'm sure you dreamed of a career as a footballer from a very young age. Did you give any thought to other potential careers before your playing days?

Sport was always my biggest passion. As youngsters, we played a lot of tennis. Before holding any ambition to play AFL, the dream was always to play at Wimbledon.

What is the experience of the draft like? Did you have much of an idea of where you would end up before Hawthorn selected you? Was it a nervous period for you?

My draft experience was a little different to most. I knew I wasn't going to get drafted, so draft day was more about holding hope for other team mates who were a good chance of getting picked up.

The day of the draft, I received a phone call from the recruiting manager at Hawthorn asking if I would be interested in training with the squad for 6 weeks before Christmas in the hope of being granted a rookie list position- which I jumped at.

At the end of that six weeks, two days before Christmas, the pre-season draft was held at which the conclusion of the rookie draft is also conducted. On the drive home after training I was called to inform that I had been selected number six in the rookie draft to Hawthorn.

Success in the rookie draft- and in the AFL- obviously has a lot to do with fitness, training and athletic ability. But what personality traits would you say are vital to succeeding in football?

More than anything else, dedication and persistence are the two most important characteristics in becoming an AFL footballer. Talent may get you in the door, but that’s about it.

The superstars of the competition are undoubtedly more talented, but are more importantly the hardest workers as well.

How do you handle being injured and not being able to join the team on the field?

Any time you cannot compete and be a part of the team, it’s important to still get involved where possible. That may be by spending more time developing the younger players, or by taking more of an interest in the coaching element and looking at opposition analysis.

Either way, it’s critical that you remain active and keep your focus on the game with a clear goal of your return date and what’s expected when you are able to take the field again.

The life of a professional AFL player is a busy one, with training, recovery, travel, media commitments, sponsor commitments, club commitments and more. What is your personal method for maintaining balance in your life?

Balance is the key word there. I find it critical to take some time away from the game and spend energies on other aspects of life. AFL can be all consuming if you allow it to be, which for some may mean a loss of passion and becoming a little burnt out in the long run.

Whether it’s with study, work placement or just a hobby- getting your head into another passion is vital to the long-term success of a career.

How much thought have you put into your post-football career?

A great deal. Earlier this year I completed a Commerce Degree. I have been involved in small business and recently assisted in developing a program to assist in the transition for footballers after their [football] career.

The AFLPA (Australian Football League Players Association) do a terrific job of encouraging all players to consider life after football and they provide numerous avenues for players to pursue their employment by establishing placement opportunities and providing grants for university studies.

What was your first job?

My first job was bagging seed on the farm! And from there I went to looking after children during the holidays for the YMCA on their holiday programs.

If you were not playing footy do you have an idea of what your career would be?

No idea. I have obvious interests in sport, but also marketing. Somehow I guess my career would involve the two.

How many players would you say have a plan for what they'll do when they finish playing, and how many just figure it out when they get there?

I know at Hawthorn, the majority of our players have a good understanding of what they want to do after their football career. And if not, they are at least undertaking a broad course of some description to help narrow their interests.

Is there club support for this transition?

The club employs a full time welfare manager who assists in that transition process.

Do you receive training opportunities to build your skill base for when you tackle employment post footy?

There are a number of programs available to all players via the AFL Players Association that allow players to be placed within an organization from their chosen field.

Commitment, teamwork, energy and focus are required to play football at the top level. How do you think your football experience will be useful when you leave the game? Do you feel the dedication and commitment you’ve displayed being a professional athlete will give you certain advantages?

There’s absolutely no doubt that AFL players are better placed than others when applying for a job post-career. The responsibilities and leadership required to play at this level may not otherwise be experienced until exposed to a senior management position.

Becoming an AFL player requires a great deal of dedication and sacrifice. It is a lifestyle that requires a willingness to work that exceeds expectations. All of which benefits former players when entering the work force.

With your achievements in football already including a Premiership and a Best-and-Fairest, what major goals do you still have on or off the field?

On field, my main aim is to experience premiership success again. And on a personal level, to continually improve my game.

Off field, to remain active and to pursue interests that ensure a seamless transition into life post football.

Thanks so much for your time, Brad.

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