L6 pupil David Barclay talks to the EDP about rugby and being part of the Young Norfolk Sports Academy

28th January 2015

"I have had approximately 14 years experience of playing rugby at different levels; in the five past years I have been lucky to have had the chance to improve and develop a lot both at school and externally. During the most recent years of my rugby career, I have played representative rugby for North Walsham RFC, Norwich School, Norfolk and Eastern Counties, Leicester Tigers, Toulon and Provence-Cote-dAzur (being half-French!).

 My average weekly timetable is a busy one: Mondays - weight programme in the gym and Eastern Counties training, Tuesdays - 7s rugby training, Wednesday - weight programme in the gym and cardio programme on the track, Thursday - 7s rugby training and weight programme in the gym, Friday - rest, Saturday - weight programme, Sunday - rugby club training. I train with Leicester Tigers academy during school time, and during the holidays I train with Toulon academy. I have a scheduled match for Eastern Counties against Yorkshire within the next month and the will be many more matches closely followed.

To keep at my peak, not only do I train playing rugby but I also keep strong and fit by weight training in the gym and cardio training on the track; one of my goals was to be doing at least one training session per day, which has become attainable thanks to the Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA). The Academy offers coaching in the various aspects of life for an elite athlete such as nutrition, injury rehabilitation and psychology. The UEA Sports Park, one of the YNSA sponsors, has given me access to their facilities (such as the gym, running track, sports programmes etc.) which has allowed me to train off the pitch, as well as on it; and they are hoping to give us access to even more facilities in the future.

I personally (and probably many others) find it difficult to get the right nutrition needed for my sport and my every-day life: I find it hard to overcome cravings, and struggle to know what foods I should eat (What time? How big the portion should be? Any extras?). A recent YNSA lecture on the topic earlier in the year really helped me in this area: I learnt a huge amount about nutrition and how I can tailor it to my requirements. It explained about things such as the percentage of fats, carbohydrates and proteins I should be eating, when I should eat, pre and post training and much more.

The Young Norfolk Sports Academy is already playing a huge role in my development as a rugby player. Its many useful lectures, facilities and people help me achieve my personal goals. Meeting the other members has been a huge benefit and it has a vital role in seeing how others cope with pressure, balancing their lifestyles and even getting advice from others. Richard and Tim have done an excellent job in creating YNSA and I am grateful to be involved in such an advanced programme."

From the YNSA article in the Eastern Daily Press: 28/01/2015