We want you to meet a person who inspires us, who shares a unique perspective, and who has a passion for connecting with others and guiding them from where they are to where they want to be… Friends, this is David (Dai) Thomas!
Dai is a Mental and Performance Coach Manager for Exos in the ‘Performance Readiness’ division. He leads a team of coaches from both physical and mental performance domains. Coaching clients from all walks of life; current and former athletes, current and former military operators, executives and employees from countless industries, including ¼ of Fortune 100 companies, through time-bound, outcome-driven immersive experiences that focus on the whole human. In addition, Dai travels the US to deliver workshops and keynotes to corporate clients on sustainability and innovation, helping them to identify and implement strategies that promote high performing teams and make-individual wellbeing a priority.
Dai and his wife Georgie have three boys aged 5, 3 and 2 months and now reside in Phoenix, Arizona for the last 3 years. Prior to that they lived in Germany whilst heading up Exos Performance coaching partnership with Adidas. And at the start of his career, they lived at ‘home’ in London for a decade where he began his career in strength & conditioning working across youth and professional sports at various academies, with partnerships of national governing bodies.
When we asked Dai ‘why’ he coaches, he replied: “Coaching is who I am, and what I have always been drawn to since pretty early in my education, coaching multi-sport, football (soccer), fitness. Coaching is everywhere, whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a people-manager, a team leader or even an individual contributor, we coach every day. I am drawn to the nature of connecting with others, being part of their journey from where they currently are, to where they want to be.”
Dai is inspired by individuals and teams that are truly engaged in the process of change – those who invest in themselves and are striving to always be the best version of themselves. And also by those who invest in others, to coach and help others be the best version of themselves.
Dai gives credit to his mentors who helped him along his coaching journey. His mentors include: Iolo Povey, Lance Walker, Perry Stewart, Stefan Underwood, and Mark Verstegen. Each individual giving him unique gifts which he describes below.
“Iolo Povey gave me my first start in fitness coaching and taught me that wellness is more than just fitness.
Lance Walker – former Global Director of Michael Johnson Performance taught me how to coach up and down the youth sport spectrum
Perry Stewart – Head of Sport Science and Performance at Arsenal FC Academy taught me how to balance long-term athlete development strategies and daily readiness and wellbeing of youth sport athletes.
Stefan Underwood – Exos VP of methodology to this day mentors me to be a better coach and better person by constantly stoking my curiosity and stretching my thinking of what it means to optimize human performance and where all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Mark Verstegen – Exos Founder and President is the shining beacon of human performance who I always look up to as the one person I know who personifies continuous improvement, passion and perseverance, rises to the responsibilities of helping others without diminishing the responsibility to care for one’s self as the caregiver.”
When asked about the impact he wants to leave on the industry, Dai shares that he wants “to empower people to understand and execute on the agency they have to optimize their human experience. To understand that the simple things done consistently, on more days than not, will give you the long term consistency to accumulate the compound interest on your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you.”
Dai’s advice for coaches is profound. He says, “go an inch deep and a mile wide. Expand your knowledge and your toolkit for all aspects of coaching and performance and avoid the trap of specializing in any one particular area. Never stop being curious and realize there’s always a better way. Hang your hat on the often forgotten second part of the famous quote: ‘a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.‘ “
We had the privledge of having Dai join us at the Pivotal Mentorship Level 1 in November 2022. He explains that today he uses the education learned in his coaching and leadership practice in several ways. “The seemingly obvious mention is the considerations of creative and thoughtfully designed movement programs with intent, and that certainly is a part of it. But, what I am constantly referring myself back to and that is guiding my own coaching and the way in which I lead my team is the unique concept of ‘E-motion’, the mental, emotional and physical process of moving from one place to another – from where we are, to where we want to be – that transformation will only ensue when we physically match and emotionally connect.”
He recommends Pivotal education “for any coaches or individuals that want to gain a deeper understanding of human movement, the mind-body connection, and how to coach and program.”
We are thrilled to have Dai as part of the Pivotal community and encourage you to connect with him. You can find him on Instagram at @coachdt