ACU (Australian Catholic University)

ACU Alum

Issue 2, Winter 2012

French connection

Turning a new page

Life’s pretty good when you get to live in Paris and wear shorts every day. Sara Coen spoke to the strength and conditioning coach for French rugby team Stade Francais about why sport is up there with music and art.

As a child Tim Rogers loved sport, but he wasn’t particularly good at it.

“My athletic career was never anything to brag about,” the 39-year-old said. “I always loved sport but wasn’t particularly gifted. As a kid I jumped from sport to sport, basically being pretty average at everything I tried. The reality is, not everyone wants to be a professional athlete.

“I was always intrigued about the body and how it worked, which lead to an interest in the way it performs physically during sport. A career in sports science became the obvious fit.” 

Tim completed a Master of Exercise Science at ACU’s Strathfield Campus, and kicked off his adventures around the globe. He’s worked with rugby union teams in New Zealand, and is currently based in Paris, France, as the strength and conditioning coach for Stade Francais, alongside head coach Michael Cheika. 

“I first got a foot in the door with rugby as a volunteer– working with local NRL teams like Sydney Rabbitohs and West Tigers, formerly Balmain Tigers,” Tim said. “It just kicked on from there. As an international sport, rugby has given me an opportunity to see the world.

“At Stade Francais I form a bridge between the medical department and the team – basically, it’s my responsibility to work with the athletes, getting them fit and back playing again after injury, but it’s different to being a physiotherapist. 

“Recording and analysing statistical data is a big part of the job. I track things like physical performance – how fast the players run, how often they accelerate, and how frequently they have impacts.

“I’m also the research guy, so it’s my job to keep my ears to the ground, listen out for new breakthroughs, and feed relevant information back to the coaches.

“During my masters I looked at the effect of high intensity running on work capacity in football – and my supervisor, Professor Geraldine Naughton was a massive influence. 

“Geraldine taught me all I know about conducting research and crunching numbers – and now she’s in my ear about coming back to do a PhD.

“If she wins me over, I’d like to look at long term athletic development or how the value of training relates back to injury rates. But for now, I’m having too much fun at work.”

A man of many talents, Tim is also designing a new sports software program.

“The aim is to present data in a graph instead of a pile of numbers, which is handy for coaches on the run,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a day I don’t feel lucky in this job. I get to work with great coaches, extremely talented athletes, and I get to wear shorts every day.

“Nothing beats that feeling of walking onto a full stadium and being part of it all. You don’t have to play sport to get excited about it – I just love being around the buzz.

“Sitting in a crowd of 100,000 people at a soccer game in Barcelona – the biggest crowd I’ve ever experienced – I remember hearing the banter in other languages. I couldn’t understand a word, but I totally got it.

“I put sport in the same boat as art and music. It’s not one of those things absolutely necessary for life, but it certainly takes the edge off a bit – making life worth living.

“Sport allows me to live in the moment – it has no script. There is something immediate and universal about it that brings people together… hmm I didn’t mean to get that deep.”

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