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An interview with a London Irish ACE- Sam Bowen

I recently had the opportunity to interview Sam Bowen an upcoming rugby player who has aspirations to be a successful international rugby player. I discussed with him his future goals and how he has got to where he is now.

What is your biggest sporting achievement so far?

' I would say my biggest sporting achievement is scoring a last minute try from our own try line to win the game for Dorset and Wilts playing against Devon. The sheer rush of blood and adrenaline when I walked into the team huddle and heard that the move was going to be a pass to me and then I would run the pitch to win the game. I remember walking to get in position for the move. I can’t explain the feeling; I’ve never been so nervous. I remember thinking what my Grandad told me when I started to play rugby: "Just pin your ears back and run like the wind". As soon as I got the ball in my hands I never looked back I tucked it under one arm and did what I do best. It was such an honour to be selected and to play for my county and something I am particularly proud about in my life so far. Not just making my family proud but having a whole my whole county cheering me on as I play.'

What are your aspirations for the future?

'The number one goal for me at the moment is to play the best rugby I possibly can for the next two years so when it is time for London Irish to select which players are going to be given contracts I’m one of the names that immediately comes up in there conversations. But, in the longer run my goal is to be a very successful international rugby player maybe winning and picking some awards up along the way. When I’m 28 my ambition is to transition over into the sport of boxing and win a world title before retiring from sports. Although people might say its a good thing that I have the next 10-15 years of my life planned out its one thing talking about it and another thing actually doing it. I understand the amount of hard work and practice I need to put in to achieve these goals and be successful.'

How did you get to where you are now?

'For the first 4/5 years I played rugby I totally relied on natural talent and at the time that would work. I would usually be stronger and faster than most players for my position at my age and for me that was enough and looking back on it now my mindset was in completely the wrong place. This all changed about a year and a half ago when I had a conversation with my Grandad in which he said “you must take yourself more seriously” and ever since my mindset has completely changed. I now stand by a mindset of working hard and always learning. Not only do I think this mindset has bettered me physically, but now a lot of my team mates respect me for the fact that I am constantly putting in the hard yards in training and I’m always looking to better myself in both aspects.'

What obstacles have you had to overcome?

'The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is the mental battle with myself especially in current times with the pandemic going on. I find it hard to structure my training as I usually end up training to hard on some days which means on other days I won’t be able to train as well. Also, I have been affected mentally due to the pandemic as I feel like I’m training for nothing at times because all sports keep being delayed. But through these low times I have to think on how hard I’ve worked to get to this point and that I’m not the only person being affected by this situation.'

What is a typical training day in the life of Sam Bowen?

'I train Monday to Sunday- giving myself one rest day where I can really reset my body for the next week so it is recovered and ready to go. Every morning I will do a weights session alternating between upper body and lower body each day. In these I don’t just lift large weights for the larger muscle groups but I do a lot of band work to strengthen the smaller muscle groups which provide more stability for the larger muscles boosting balance and agility and reducing injury.

Then I'll have a 1500 calorie breakfast consisting of eggs, some sort of fruit, my training drinks such as my protein shake and creatine.

I'll usually do some school work/ do some skills work so I have something to do to keep me in a working mindset so I’m always ready to go.

This will be followed by lunch which is usually around 1500/2000 calories and usually consists of a meat or fish such as chicken, steak or salmon accompanied by rice just to keep my calorie intake up and my body fuelled for the evening.

Then in the evening I will either do a fitness session which will either be anaerobic such as sprint fitness so for example running 15 100m back to back on a rolling one minute clock or it can be anaerobic so boxing/MMA styled or just running to keep base fitness. The other thing I do is sprint sessions I do one a week with elite sprint cover Alan Murdoch who trains the likes of Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph and Dan Norton- some of the quickest players in world rugby. Then he sets me a programme to do in a week- all to do with finding the right technique and form as well as increasing my speed.

I try to stick to drinking 4 litres + of water per day and to get at least 9/10 hours sleep so I’m not tired when training as it will affect the quality of my training.'

It was great interviewing Sam and learning more about what his training schedule is and discussing his aspirations and goals for the future.

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