Aaron Nell of Swindon Wildcats on building a winning team

Tim Thurston
Managing Director | Team-i
5th September 2019
Member roleInitiative member

The Swindon Wildcats are a professional ice hockey team that have had their two most successful seasons. After winning two cups in 2018, the Wildcats won the National Ice Hockey League South this season, for the first time in their history.

Team-i, who had worked with Exeter Chiefs and England Netball to understand how they had achieved their success, approached head coach Aaron Nell to learn how the Wildcats had achieved their phenomenal success.

The Nell family own the Wildcats, with Aaron’s father Steve revitalising the club in 2004. The club is a family affair with all the family involved in the running of the club.

Aaron has enjoyed an illustrious playing career. He has played over 100 games of elite ice hockey and over 400 games for Swindon Wildcats. Representing GB. Taking over as coach in 2017, Aaron has enjoyed success with the Wildcats and has coached the GB under 20s.

Being a business owner as well as an elite sportsman, Aaron is well placed to comment on the well documented adage that business can learn much from sport. 

He says, “We have had an amazing couple of seasons, but when I reflect on the team’s success, particularly this season, there was time around Christmas, when I wasn’t that happy. So, we sat down and talked to the players, trying to install confidence in them, making them appreciate that we needed to work hard, but also making training and playing on the ice as enjoyable as possible. We started to see some success and rolled with it, eventually winning 17 of our last 18 games.”

“I think most employees in many businesses are very similar to my players.

"My players want to win, and I believe most employees want to do their job well. 

"If they are treated well, given clear direction and enjoy themselves they will be successful.

“I believe all of strategies and plans that we created and implemented, that enabled us to achieve our success can be applied to business.

“Working with Team-i we have analysed the key factors that made us successful so that we can share them and hopefully help improve the performance of local businesses."

Just like in business, we start a new year in September and need to build on our success.

As it is in sport as much as it is in business, you can’t stand still. If you don’t continually improve and strive for higher levels, you will undoubtedly go backwards and someone else will steal your crown.”

“We believe we have worked hard in pre-season and have a stronger squad ready for the challenges of a new league.” This season the Wildcats will compete in the new National league. So their teamwork and strategies for successful will be further tested.

On the forthcoming workshops that Aaron is presenting with Tim Thurston of Team-i, he says: “I’m really looking forward to sharing the secrets of our success and hope they can help you improve the success of local businesses. We are very well supported by the local business community and hopefully these workshops will further enhance our already strong relationships.”

“The series of four workshops cover the key elements of how we improved our teamwork. How we recruited the right people into the right roles. The importance of good leadership both on and off the ice and the management processes we put in place. 

We will complete the programme with a visit to a Wildcats game. After which I will give you a debrief, so you will see first-hand exactly how we create and implement our strategies. All of these issues are, I believe relevant to all businesses.”

Click to see Aaron talking about the workshop: https://www.team-i.co.uk/category/events/

Details of the workshops are as follows:

Workshop 1 on Wednesday 18 September 2019, 2 to 5pm:

How the Wildcats created a winning culture by putting the team first.

Workshop 2 on Tuesday 1 October 2019, 2 to 5pm:

How the Wildcats changed their approach to recruitment and resourcing so that they could attract the best talent within their budget and utilise it effectively.

Workshop 3 on Wednesday 16 October 2019, 2 to 5pm:

The leadership style that Aaron developed that allowed him to be effective when both coaching and playing. How leaders were developed within the team, who influenced performance.

Workshop 4 on Tuesday 5 November 2019, 2 to 5pm:

How performance was managed and strategies we developed to beat the competition.

The price for the 4 workshops and Wildcats game is £295 +vat.


Or you can book 2 places for only £500 +vat. Please email tim@team-i.co.uk to do so.

Workshop 1 can be booked for £95 +vat.


Places are limited so please book early.

Any queries please call Tim Thurston on 07793 264611

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