My ‘False’ Cup Final Success Story

Posted By: Andy Barker

Only a couple of months after finishing University I was part of the Leeds Rhinos medical team that made the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

This was a massive deal…

This was the club I had always wanted to work at and the team I had grown up supporting (I’d even been to Wembley to watch them play as a kid).

There was 4 weeks between the semi-final and the final and as much as I was looking forwards to the game, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.

Nothing to do with the final, but how things were going day-day at work.

If you are anything like I was as a New Grad Physio, competency was a real problem.

Upon qualifying I thought I was competent, I thought I had the skill-sets needed to do my job properly, but I was wrong.

It’s clear from working with so many New Grads now that competency, specifically the lack of it, is a real problem and is the main reason so many therapists struggle in the early weeks, months and even years, as a New Grad Physio.

Becoming a successful New Grad Physio starts with becoming COMPETENT.

Firstly, you must acknowledge that you lack certain skills and that you need to upskill to become a better therapist.

For some this is tough.

I get it.

You’ve worked hard at University over the last few years, completed your placements, so surely this teaching and your experiences ‘in the field’ have set you up well.

Unfortunately, not…

What nobody tells you at University is how scarily different life as a New Grad Physio really is.

The pressures, the expectations you face and the fact you must try over-come these challenges often without enough help and support.

If you have already qualified, you will know exactly what I am talking about…

If you are still studying, the biggest danger facing you is actually not knowing this and lacking the AWARENESS that these challenges are awaiting ahead of you.

If you don’t know the challenges that await then you cannot do anything to prepare yourself.

You are just waiting for these problems to arise and let me tell you, they will arise.

All New Grad’s face the same challenges.

Yet some can overcome these challenges quickly, get the patient results they want and enjoy their life as a New Grad Physio yet others, feel overwhelmed, frustrated and struggle to adapt to working life.

This lack of awareness of these challenges is the primary reason most New Grad Physio’s struggle to transition to life as a fully qualified therapist.

Add to this the fact that the safety net you had at University, where you had constant help and support from your University lecturers or placement supervisors is gone, is it any wonder most New Grads struggle?

As a New Grad now, you might feel like you’re doing it all on your own.

You feel isolated, overwhelmed and struggle with the challenges that face every New Grad Physio.

Me As A New Grad Talking A Look Around Wembley The Day Before The Cup Final
What you need to do to start to overcome these challenges is to start building COMPETENCY.

Whilst you might not want to admit this, I know I certainly didn’t, but at the start of your career ‘You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know’ and as hard as the challenges you face right now feel, they are only going to get harder.

To put it simply, you are Unconsciously Incompetent.

New Grad Physio Competency Ladder

You are at the start of your therapy journey.

Your journey as a therapist will go through 4 stages of learning, as you go from that young, inexperienced, incompetent therapist to become an experienced, skilled and competent therapist.

ALL therapists go through this same process.

However, the SPEED at which you go through this process is down to YOU.

University fell short in preparing you for life in the real world, working with real patients and athletes.
So you have a choice…

You can either:
Try Figure It Out On Your Own, Make Mistakes, Continue To Feel Overwhelmed & Frustrated With Your Slow Progress & Career Progression
Find Out The Exact Skill-Sets You Need To Learn To Overcome Each & Every Challenges You Will Face On Your Own New Grad Journey

So many New Grad Physio’s make the mistake by taking the first option…

As a New Grad I chose the second option and that is why I was able to go from student to dream job as the Head Physio at the Leeds Rhinos in just over 1 year.

I had the right help and support from someone that had already been through that process and could show me the exact skill-sets I needed to know to overcome each challenge that I would face as a New Grad.

Having worked with so many New Grad Physio’s just like you, I know that ALL therapists make BIG mistakes at the early stages of their careers.

The most worrying thing is that most of the time they don’t even know they are making these mistakes and how these mistakes that are stagnating their learning and their career progress.

The decisions that you make, even at the very earliest stages of your career journey, have such a big bearing on what will happen later in your professional career.

Arguably the biggest challenge you have right now as a New Grad Physio is the UNKNOWN.

More specifically, the lack of awareness of what challenges are coming and how hard the challenges as a New Grad Physio really are.

It would be great to hear from you.

Let me know what you are struggling with right now by contacting me at and I’ll get back to you right away.

Speak soon

Andy Barker
The New Grad Physio Mentor

PS. If you want to here more about how to prepare for the challenges you will face on your New Grad Physio Journey then check out my book that I released earlier this year.