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Paul Roberts - Focusing On The Game

Paul Roberts plays and coaches rugby. But even at the young age of 26 he has learned the importance of maintaining his physical condition in order to stay match sharp. It’s a message he passes on to his students and despite a recent shoulder injury has found a way to ensure his mind is on the game and not the pain.

I’ve played rugby since…

I left school and wanted to start doing more coaching. I played a lot of different sports but always gravitated towards rugby. I work as a sports coach and play rugby for Esher Rugby Club. I work with kids from about 9 all the way up to 18.

Rugby is a…

high impact sport and as a result there are more injuries. When you train you are always looking at ways that you can play hard but avoid injuries as much as possible. In the younger games there are often big size differences in players, one 15 year old can be much bigger than another, so you have to train them how to understand how to take an impact, land a tackle and play to your full potential without hurting yourself.

In rugby your joints…

are your main form of defence and attack. I’ve been playing men’s rugby since I was 18 and you have to look after yourself. For the rest of my career I’ll be looking to fight for my full physical fitness. When you can’t play it’s hugely frustrating.

I tell my students…

to look after their physical condition now because it will only get harder as time goes by. It’s hard to get it through to people because it’s a long term view. I was like it at that age, you want to be stronger, you want to be faster and fitter. You don’t always think about how important it is to look after yourself. By doing the latter it will help you become faster and fitter because you’re able to train and play more.

My favourite part of coaching is…

is seeing the kids take on board what you’re teaching them. When you see them begin to understand for themselves why you’re teaching them certain things and you see it click for them, that’s the most satisfying part of the job. Seeing them gel as a team is so rewarding.

I know myself that…

if you don’t feel comfortable and confident on the field it can affect you. If you’re thinking about your shoulder, or you knee or anything like that, you’re not able to just focus on playing the game. So you have to look after yourself off the field in order to be able to give your all on it.

My injury came about through…

a collision with a bigger guy. I hurt my shoulder. But it’s also through years and years of tackling. It’s built up over time and not always doing the right stretching or warm-ups needed to help mobility in that joint.

My injury is…

my AC joint (acromioclavicular joint - a joint at the top of the shoulder) and my rotator cuff. It’s a key area, your pectorals go in there, your lats go in there. When my AC joint is inflamed it leaves the muscles quite numb. It makes my shoulder very restricted in its movement and causes a lot of pain when I try and pass the ball. It gets very stiff the day after games, after training, even if I’ve slept on that shoulder it can cause a lot of stiffness.

I couldn’t play…

for a few months because of the injury. When I first did it I couldn’t move the shoulder at all. I could move from the elbow down but that was it. It’s very frustrating because it takes a long time to get yourself back to full fitness when you have been out for any length of time. Any time out feels like a lifetime. It takes a while to get back in sync with the game and you’re itching to do so which means you often push yourself too hard.

I heard about Flexiseq…

through Brad Barritt’s Twitter account. He welcomed Cian Healy to the Flexiseq team so I did a bit of research and thought it was worth a try.

Flexiseq Active has…

really helped loosen up my shoulder. It helps the mobility in the joint which is exactly what I need. To make sure it stays loose and not every muscle around the joint seizing up. As an athlete your body is like a car, it needs maintenance to keep it running smoothly.

Since using Flexiseq…

I’m not aware of the pain anymore. I’m now able to go out and play with confidence. It’s also nice to know it’s not hiding the problem, it’s actually getting to the source of it. Now I need to stay on top of it by keeping using the Flexiseq to allow me to see out the season.

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