Alastair Clarkson revealed the ‘Four Ps’ mantra he delivered to his players before they went on Christmas break.

Four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson has revealed his ‘Four Ps’ mantra he delivered to his players before Hawks players went on their Christmas break.

After finishing 13th on the AFL ladder last year and missing the finals, the Hawthorn coach has been doing his utmost to turn the team around after a frustrating COVID impacted season.

Amid calls for the team to be relocated to Tasmania by Jeff Kennett and the investigation into Jonathan Patton, Clarkson’s focus has been primarily on football and has been preaching to his players to take the same approach.

In doing so, the veteran coach, entering his 17th AFL season, urged his players to get behind his 4P motto.

Alastair Clarkson

“Within our club – and it’s now become outside of our club – we talk about the four Ps, which is the piss, the punt, the penis and the powder,” Clarkson told the Dyl and Friends podcast. “And where there’s strife in anyone’s life, by and large, one of those four is going to get you.

“One of them is illegal but three of them are legal. So certainly the legal ones, well, you’re allowed to have a punt and you’re allowed to go out and have a drink and you’re allowed to spend time with a lady or male partner. But if you do those things excessively and foolishly then you’re going to find yourself in a little bit of trouble.”

Clarkson encouraged his players to think more about their decisions off the field and how hindsight is useless unless you make the right decisions when confronted by a delicate situation.

“We talk about our guys on a regular basis – and not always me to the players and the players to me, sometimes just break in groups and have a chat about where in this next two or three weeks you might find yourself in a vulnerable position and think about it before you go into the scenario, rather than reflect afterwards. Because the reflecting afterwards might be a different scenario than actually giving it some thought beforehand.

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“That includes if you’re going to have a drink, are you going to drive. If you’re going to an environment with mates, who are the mates, do they understand the footy environment, do they understand your professionalism, the background … what you do and what your expectations are?

The former Kangaroos and Demons player, who is now the longest tenured coach in the AFL, has the experience as a player to give credible advice to his playing group about the dangers of taking their careers for granted when in a vulnerable state.

“We’re dealing with young men, they’re not going to get it right all the time,” he said. We know that there’s mistakes to be made – and many make them, including me. I’ve made plenty over my journey. But what we try to do now is pass on our wisdom of the mistakes that we’ve made and hope that we can prepare our guys as best we can to avoid some of them.

“There’s pitfalls everywhere, but by and large, it’s held us in pretty good stead.

“We have a bit of fun with it too. It also just normalises it a little bit because what these young lads are going through … whatever’s been transgressed has probably been transgressed in my family. So I just try and pass on, as best I can, the wisdom of our ways.”

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