kids on the kouch #004 w/ Hayden Yates


Hayden Yates is a 19yr old Gridiron player with a head on his shoulder that's wiser than his years. In his past, he's been blessed to be an Australian Schoolboys Rep and has also represented at a high level in a number of other sports. Right now, his main sport is Gridiron, and he's just received 36 Scholarship offers from American Colleges to study and play in 2018, including two official offers from NCAA and NAIA schools

He's overcome countless heartache whilst chasing his dream of playing in the NRL, and found that as one door closes, a million others open with his latest venture into Gridiron. We've recently just overcome a torn MCL and ACL too, which dared to crush his dream and chance of going to America... the best news is though, he's all healed and is raring to go come August this year...

How do you view/define failure? Do you have a favourite failure?
I define failure as what happens when you strive for something for many years, and it doesn't eventuate. I've had plenty in my short career as I had to dream of playing in the NRL since the age of 7, but I'd always be told that I was too short. My favourite failure would be being told that I would never make it out of my age group, and yet I played a full season of 1st Grade for the Singleton Greyhounds and moved on to trying a different sport in Gridiron... 

What comes to mind when you think of the word fear?
Scared. Being scared comes to mind. If you fear something it means you're scared of it. Being scared isn't a bad thing though, as I'm scared of many things, but fear can either make us or break us - and we get to choose which one happens. I like to think of fear as a form of motivation. A time I've felt most fearful in life and have overcome it was going to the Gold Coast last year for the Down Under Bowl. A heap of American Boys came over and we had to compete against them, and I was scared I wasn't good enough to be there... the first training session I was very standoffish, and one of the coaches came up to say a few words to me. I told him I was scared, he asked why, and he told me "you're obviously up here for a reason, if you're scared, you better go sit on that bench over there" ... I dug in, played my heart out, and a few of the coaches told me I should apply to play collegiate ball and here we are today

How do you view obstacles/adversity? Are they something we should run toward or away from?
I think we should seek to find it, as without it we cannot grow. Seek more of it, but make sure it's calculated - don't go freediving or anything...

Where does pressure come from?
Me. It comes from inside. All of my pressure, all my motivation is internalised, it's intrinsic. In my past, I'd tell myself I'm not half as good as the guys I'm playing with or against, and that'd help me rise to play at a higher level. It can also come from coaches, but that's also on you - as only you can choose to let that pressure get to you

If you could give a bit of advice to a former version of yourself, what would it be?
Don't be so hard on yourself & don't take everything so seriously. Seriously, just stop, you're not doing yourself any favours

How would you finish this sentence, "it all comes down to..."
The person you want to become. I'm always looking toward the future and looking at how I can set the foundation to realise what I want in the future

Nick Maier