Meet the sports guru behind the rise of Richmond, Trent Cotchin and Ash Barty
In 2016 the Richmond Tigers had bombed to 13th place on the AFL ladder and Ash Barty was giving private tennis lessons to kids for less than $20 a session.
If it wasn’t for mindset coach Ben Crowe, they might still be there.
Crowe once worked with some of the biggest names in sport including Andre Agassi as Nike’s former International Director of Sports Marketing.
These days, Crowe is a mindset coach who has worked with athletes and teams across all codes in Australia, helping them overcome mental hurdles and reach their full potential.
Crowe is pictured with Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Ash Barty and Damian Hardwick along with two of the AFL premiership cups the Richmond Tigers won after working with him
He is widely praised by Richmond stars Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin and played a key role in lifting the former AFL battlers off the canvas and into a period of dominance that has reaped three AFL premierships and counting.
Fortunately for the Tigers, Crowe is a lifelong fan. He knew American-born lawyer Peggy O’Neal had all the skills and ability to be president of the club, but believed she was being undermined by the boys club at board level.
It made him angry, so he intervened.
Crowe is highly philosophical and has worked with major athletes including Andre Agassi and Serena Williams
He met with O’Neal and discovered coach Damian Hardwick was facing the axe and skipper Trent Cotchin was at an all-time low. So Crowe agreed to meet with them both.
‘He changed my life,’ Cotchin told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘To some degree, he almost saved it. I didn’t know whether I wanted to play footy any more.
‘Just being a fulfilled person in life helps you be happy. And if you’re happy, you can execute as well as you possibly can.’
‘The Trent story was beautiful, from unofficially voted the worst captain in the AFL to officially, by his peers, voted the best captain in the AFL,’ Crowe told SEN in 2019.
‘All credit to Trent. He’s literally found his authenticity and from that point of view he can show up in the world.’
It was through Richmond that Barty and Crowe connected.
While the humble Ipswich product is known globally today for her feats in winning three grand slams and becoming world No.1, she was battling at the time.
After taking time away from tennis to play cricket for the Brisbane Heat, Barty was back to training and coaching at her old junior club in Brisbane.
Being a Tigers fan herself, she knew Trent Cotchin and saw first hand the change in him, inspired by Crowe’s teachings. So she reached out as well.
Crowe also worked with Golden Slam winner Dylan Alcott and helped him manage his retirement decision
They became close and Barty would turn to Crowe every time the chips were down, like when she crashed out of Wimbledon in 2018 with 24 unforced errors against Russian Daria Kasatkina.
Crowe would always be there to help her find her centre again – and was there at the end to help guide Barty through her shock retirement decision.
‘I can’t thank you enough for helping me become the woman I am today, for helping me realise the person I want to be off the court,’ Barty said.
‘You changed not only my life – my mum and dad, my sisters Ali and Sarah … I’m very lucky to have found you.’