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Introducing Tim Harper-Head of Strength & Conditioning at London Scottish

14th August 2013
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1.How did you get into Strength and Conditioning?

I am pretty much devoid of skill / sporting talent and growing up, I only really excelled at sports whereby I could just be fit and slightly psychotic. I was always into fitness and enjoyed the geeky part of planning training and preparing for things, I even spent my gap year dedicated to training for and completing a 180 mile ultra-marathon.

That said, career-wise I wanted to follow my older brothers into the Army for a long time but when I did my big run and got to university, I started getting more interested in the human performance side of things and the army dream slipped away. I developed an annoying level of passion for S&C and the rest I guess is history. I feel pretty blessed to have found a career I genuinely enjoy every single day.

2. What have you been working on in pre-season with the team?

With me only coming on board in May, along with the usual pre-season training goals, this pre-season has really been about restructuring our S&C programme. A lot of the work has been behind-the-scenes putting structures in place so that the department can function optimally and the provision to the players is the very best we can offer. The exciting thing is, despite all the progress we've made, there is still a huge amount of untapped potential still to come.

The players have been absolutely superb in the way they have bought into a new and really challenging 14 week pre-season. The focus has been first and foremost on looking after the player and then helping them realise their athletic potential – which isn't as airy-fairy as it sounds. With such a long pre-season training period, we have been able to really get to grips with the squad and make huge progress across all our performance markers. I'm really pleased with how things are going but we all know there is a lot of hard work left to do.

3. You’ve recently introduced a ‘Trainer of the Week vest’ (as modeled by new signing Dave Lyons) – tell us a bit about this and what it aims to do?

 

The “Trainer of the Week” competition is another way we are rewarding players for going above and beyond. It's not just awarded to the “best” athlete, but to the player who best personifies the club's values that particular week. We foster a really competitive training environment so to be able to reward people for feeding into that is massively important. Week-on-week it's getting harder and harder to select just one player which is a fantastic reflection on how hard the lads are working.

4. Who in the team is the best in the Gym?

Everyone in the squad has their strengths so it would be unfair to select just one player. Fortunately we are very blessed to have a very athletic squad and with the hard graft the players are consistently putting in; the standards are only set to rise.

5. What are your aims for the season?

Tough question! The club have a number of goals for the upcoming season which I think if we can keep working as consistently hard as we are, we should be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. From my perspective, we have put in the foundations of our new S&C programme during pre-season and over the coming months, we'll build on them. We have some pretty exciting initiatives in the pipeline, so I guess, watch this space.

6. What are you most excited about as we approach the start of the season?

I'm really excited to experience match day at the Athletic Ground this season and hope to see as many supporters as possible at our games. There are a few teams in the league that are proud of how intimidating their supporters can make their stadiums and I hope the London Scottish fans can make our home a difficult place for opposition teams to visit this year.

7. Tell us about your car? (Tim’s car has an impressive number of stickers on it!)

The go-kart! The best car to have in London, unless you need to carry some passengers, or some luggage, or anything bigger than a rucksack… If anyone out there wants to swap it for a Land Rover Defender or a Hummer, I'm open to offers.

8. And finally, what is your favorite cheese?

When I was a kid, my mam used to do a solid cheese fondue. I think that’s a combination of about 4 cheeses. She used to live in Munich and picked up some decent European tips on cooking cheese. Does that count?
 

Thanks to Tim for taking the time to answer our questions.

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