South African born Patrick Anthony Howard 'Paddy' Upton (born 5 November 1968) is a Head Coach in Professional T20 cricket, Mental Coach to professional athletes, Executive Coach and Professor of Practice at Deakin University. After attaining his Master's degree in Sport Science at University of Cape Town, he worked as the Strength and Conditioning coach for the South Africa cricket team (1994-1998) and the Western Province rugby team (1999)
Changing careers following a second master's degree in Business Coaching from Middlesex University (2003), and along with Gary Kirsten as Head Coach, Upton was appointed Mental Conditioning and Strategic Leadership Coach of the Indian National cricket team in 2008. Under Kirsten and Upton, the team attained the ICC top test team ranking for their first time (2009), and went on to win the ICC World Cup in 2011. Following this success, Upton was appointed Performance Director of the South Africa Cricket Team (Proteas) from 2011-2014, during which time they became the first team to simultaneously hold the Official ICC World number 1 ranking in all three formats of the international game.
Between 2012-2018 Upton has been Head Coach in 12 professional T20 cricket seasons, for five different teams across three tournaments, including the Indian Premier League, Australian Big Bash League and the Pakistan Super League. His accomplishments as Head Coach include leading the Rajasthan Royals team from four years near the bottom of the IPL log to IPL Semi-finalists and Champions League finalists in his first season (2013), including a record 13 straight home wins. He joined the Sydney Thunder team after they had lost 21 out of 22 matches in the first three seasons of the Big Bash League, leading them to Big Bash League Champions two seasons later, in BBL05.
Upton has degrees from four different Universities, including two Master's degrees. In 2015 he was awarded the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Achiever Award, awarded to Alumni who made significant contributions to their specialist fields and contributed to the development and well-being of society at local, provincial, national or international levels. In 2017 he was appointed Professor of Practice at Deakin University.
Upton was born on 5 November 1968 in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa. He represented the Western Province Schools U19 cricket team from grade 10 to grade 12 (1984-1986), captaining the team in 1986. He represented the Western Province U23 cricket team from 1988-1992, as captain in 1991–1992, and played for the Western Province senior cricket team in 1990-91 and 1993-94, scoring a century on first-class debut.
Upton played rugby for Maties (Stellenbosch University), for the first XV at University of Port Elizabeth (1990), as well as for the University of Cape Town (1991). In a strange twist, he received one cap (1990) for the South African Rugby Association team, an apartheid-era team comprising the best black African (not white, coloured, Muslim or Indian) players in South Africa at the time. Upton is classified white (caucasian).
In 1994 and at age 25 he retired from competitive cricket and rugby to take up the position of full-time Strength and Conditioning coach of the South African national cricket team.
Following his work as Strength and Conditioning coach (of South African cricket and Western Province rugby) in 1999 Upton was a co-founder and managing director of Street Universe, a Section-21 (non-profit) organisation founded to rehabilitate the 400-odd hardened street children and youth living on the streets in the Cape Town CBD and surrounds. Thanks to the backing of Ex-springbok rugby captain and later manager Morne du Plessis, the organisation received funding from amongst other, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Following Upton's resignation in 2002, Street Universe merged with another organisation under new leadership.
Strength and Conditioning coach
After completing a master's degree in Sport Science and at age 25, Upton cut his playing-career short to take up the full-time position of Strength and conditioning Coach for the South African cricket team, from 1994-1998. He was also involved as a key strategist with the team coach Bob Woolmer and then-captain Hansie Cronje. In 1999 he changed codes to rugby, spend a year working as Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Western Province Vodacom Cup rugby team.
With a sport psychology major, and a second master's degree (in Business Coaching), Upton redefined his career to begin work as Mental Conditioning coach (in sport) and Executive Coach (in Business) in 2003. He has since worked as Mental Coach and/or Performance Consultant to over 20 professional cricket, rugby, soccer and field hockey teams across South Africa, India and Australia. He has also served as personal Mental Coach to over 100 professional athletes from 11 different sports, and across five continents, including cricket, rugby, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming and World Tour surfing (2003 - current).
Indian Cricket Team
Having been appointed the head coach of India in 2008, Gary Kirsten recommended the appointment of Upton in the dual role of Mental Conditioning coach and Strategic Leadership Coach. Kirsten described Upton's support and guidance as invaluable. The duo of Kirsten and Upton spent three years with the Indian team, during which time the team attained the top test ICC team ranking for their first time (2009), and went on to win the ICC World Cup in 2011 - with India having last won that tournament 28 years prior.
South African Cricket Team
Following success with the Indian Cricket team, Upton was appointed Performance Director of the South Africa Cricket Team (Proteas) from 2011-2014. During this period they became the first team to simultaneously hold the Official ICC World number 1 ranking in all three formats of the game. The Proteas retained the Number one ranking from August 2012 to December 2015.
Between 2013-2018 Upton worked as Head Coach in 12 professional T20 cricket seasons, for five different teams across three tournaments, in Australia, India and Dubai. He was appointed Head Coach of a 6th team, the Durban Qalandars in South Africa's T20 Global League, before the tournament was postponed.
Indian Premier League
Upton was Head Coach of Pune Warriors in 2012, of Rajasthan Royals for three seasons (2013-2015) and then Delhi Daredevils for two seasons (2016-2017) in the Indian Premier League. Under his coaching, the Rajasthan Royals team went from four years near the bottom of the IPL log, to IPL Semi-finalists and Champions League finalists in Upton's first season (2013), which included a record 13 straight home wins at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
Australian Big Bash League
Upton was Head Coach of the Sydney Thunder cricket team in the Australian Big Bash League for four seasons, from 2014-2018. His appointment came after the team had lost 21 out of 22 matches in the first three seasons of the Big Bash League (BBL01 to BBL03). Along with Captain Mike Hussey, Upton guided the team from wooden-spooners to Big Bash League Champions two seasons later, in BBL05. In a 2015 interview, Australian cricketer Shane Watson referred to Upton as 'one of the best coaches in the world'.
Pakistan Super League
Upton has degrees from four different universities, including two master's degrees. In 2017 he was appoint as Professor of Practice at Deakin University school of Business and Law (Melbourne, Australia). His degrees include;
- B.Sc. (Human Movement Sciences), Stellenbosch University
- B.A Hons (Biokinetics), University of Port Elizabeth. (Including distinction for Sport Psychology major)
- M.Sc (Medical - Sport Science), University of Cape Town. (Thesis: Prevention of Schoolboy Rugby Injuries)
- M.A. (Professional Development - Coaching), Middlesex University (with distinction). (Thesis: Assessing professional cricket coaching (with distinction))
- Appointed Professor of Practice. Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law (Melbourne, Australia)
- Co-authored "The Beer Drinkers Guide to Losing Weight" (Penguin Books, 1997)
- Co-authored "Sharing the Passion. Conversations with Coaches" (Advanced human Technologies, 2006)
- Author of The Barefoot Coach: Life-changing insights from working with the world's best cricketers. Published May 2019 in India by Westland (Amazon), on Amazon Kindle (eBook) and self-published in South Africa. Ranked in Amazon.in top 50 sellers, and chosen by Exclusive Books (South Africa) as a 2019 Homebru Book of Choice.
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- Faizan Lakhani. "Moin Khan, Mickey Arthur among head coaches for PSL teams". Geo TV. Retrieved 26 August 2017.