Alongside his degree, Dan is a full-time intern with Gloucester Rugby’s Strength and Conditioning team. He gets to the training centre early to prepare things for the players, take warm-ups and liaises with the coaches. He also assists the first team players in the gym, during training sessions and behind the scenes at matches, but he gets most of his hands-on practical experience with the Academy players.
"I was doing the BTEC Diploma in Fitness at Hartpury and my lecturer recommended me the Gloucester’s Head of Strength and Conditioning role. It started out as a one day placement for eight weeks, but I was quickly offered more hours. At the end of college, I was offered a full-time internship and my commitments have continued to step up .
Compared to a lot of other universities, Hartpury University has relatively small teaching groups, which means that you get a lot of interaction with your lecturers and individual support to achieve your ambitions. There are many opportunities to practically apply what you learn, with the elite athletes on site and using equipment like force platforms and lighting gates. That means you gain skills and experience that mean you feel confident when you’re starting an internship or working in the industry. I don’t think you can do better than Hartpury University when it comes to developing yourself academically and practically.
I also do strength and conditioning coaching for the Academy players and it’s a real buzz supporting them to develop as athletes and as players. We help them with their technique and movement patterns, both in the gym and out on the pitch. It’s a competitive environment and it’s our job to manage that to ensure that young players are training properly and have the right mindset.
I also run the Development Player Programme for the Under-15s, leading sessions for the best young players in the area. Often, it’s the first time they have really experienced any kind of S and C and it’s all about mechanics; showing them how to squat, lunge and bear crawl properly – all movements that are transferable to rugby but they don’t often realise it!
It has been amazing being exposed to elite sport at such a young age, working with both professional players and coaches. Having the chance to support the England Rugby team during the RBS 6 Nations was a fantastic opportunity that came about through my internship at Gloucester, working with some of the best athletes in the country. It was a real eye-opener; the attention to detail at international level is incredible."