The Life and Times of Being a High Performance Director with Dave Tenney

Dave Tenney has dedicated his career to the evolution of the high-performance sport.

He is the High Performance Director for the Major League Soccer expansion franchise, Austin FC, and is highly invested in building a high-performance department that supports the needs of its athletes, coaches, and management.

Prior to joining Austin FC, Dave served as the High Performance Director for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Team and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS.

Dave joins me today to reveal the crucial factor that makes an effective high-performance environment. He emphasizes the importance of collaboration in a high-performance model and explains what makes a “hands-on” High Performance Director different from a “hands-off” one.

He discusses why he transitioned from working in professional soccer to the NBA, and illustrates the various challenges he overcame when he switched.

And last but not least, Dave discusses the value of diversity in building staff-building and explains why upcoming coaches should focus on honing their skills over targeting specific sports or jobs.


The high-performance department is about recognizing and valuing what everyone can bring to the table. – Dave Tenney


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • Dave’s primary roles during his time in the NBA
  • How every sport interprets the role of High Performance Director differently
  • The difference between the “hands-on” and “hands-off” High Performance Directors in the NBA
  • The challenges of sharing information and decision-making in the NBA’s high-performance model
  • Keys to effective collaboration in a high-performance environment
  • Why teams need to have a living, breathing AMS platform
  • What prompted Dave to move from soccer to professional basketball and the challenges he faced in the transition
  • The life cycle of a high-performance environment
  • The difference between his time with the Sounders and his time with the MLS
  • What surprised Dave when he started working in the NBA
  • How playing soccer benefitted his work as High Performance Director
  • The importance of educating yourself with the needs and demands of the athletes
  • The power of building staff with diverse skills and personalities
  • Lessons from working with the Seattle Sounders that Dave wants to apply in Austin FC
  • Why young, upcoming coaches need to prioritize learning skills and traits over targeting jobs
  • Dave’s favorite memory from his time with the Orlando Magic


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