guest post from Alex Davies
8 years ago I suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
I had been playing for London Welsh in the RFU Championship semi final against Yorkshire Carnegie, competing to reach the Premiership and now I had an injury that was due to see me injured for 9-12 months. I was devastated to say the least.
It was one of my first serious injuries and I was not prepared for it, mentally or figuratively. I had left university without finishing my degree and I didn’t have any other hobbies outside of rugby. It was just rugby, rugby and more rugby so this hit me for six. Sat there unable to do anything, I felt like I had no purpose due to not having another focus outside the game to throw my energy towards. After a bit of thought, I decided to fill my time by coaching goal kicking to the London Welsh minis, thanks to their chairman Gareth Jones.
This grew into a business which is now called ‘AD Elite Kicking’.
Goal kicking was always my strong point as a player and I found that I loved helping younger players improve. My business started at London Welsh minis 8 years ago and has grown alongside my playing career, now coaching a wide range of players from school boys, senior academy players, England U20 players, Gallagher Premiership players, Top 14 players, right up to full internationals. My last playing contract was with Bath Rugby and I was able to keep coaching going alongside my day to day training commitments.
My business really developed during the first lockdown. I was looking for ways to keep myself busy and engage with my clients. I started providing online kicking sessions Via FaceTime which proved a massive hit and this is something I have developed further during this latest lockdown, adding some video analysis to the package too.
At the same time, I knew that Bath weren’t going to keep me on for another year so I had already looked and applied for other jobs, just in case another rugby contract wasn’t around the corner.
A professional rugby contract didn’t materialise despite having spoken to a lot of clubs and agents in different countries. So a new job beckoned at Hurstpierpoint College as a full time rugby coach, alongside a player/coach role at National 1 rugby club Rosslyn Park.
I am extremely thankful to both Hurstpierpoint College and Rosslyn Park; they have treated me extremely well and have helped in any way possible which isn’t something that happens in the professional game. They provide me with stability and support and the hours are flexible which allows me to still work and develop AD Elite Kicking.
Currently I’m in the middle of talking to a whole host of world class goal kickers such as Rhys Priestland, Lima Sopoaga, Freddie Burns, Marcus Smith and Callum Sheedy around the mental side of goal kicking. I thought it would be a great insight for any youngster to hear what the best kickers in the world have to say, the challenges they face and bits of advice they have learnt.
Not only have I been pestering goal kickers but I decided to reach out to my sport’s psychologist that I had at Bath, Joe Dixon. He works at Bath 2 days a week and at Stoke football club the rest of the week. He helped me massively during the last year of my career so I thought I’d get the expert’s advice around the whole mental side of goal kicking too which was amazing.
This year I’m looking to grow the business, speak to more kickers and improve my coaching. It’s a huge passion of mine and a career I want to pursue at the highest level.
I’d love the chance to head out to NZ and or Australia for a few months to shadow one of the Super Rugby teams and see how they do things. I covered a number of positions (9,10,15) in the Premiership and would love to go around all the Premiership Academies to help develop their youngsters in those positions.