Sharks prop Ross Harrison has opened up about his ten years at the club, revealed what still drives him every day in training and which club legends were most influential on his development.
And in the second of the club’s Mind Over Matter series, exploring the mental side of the game, Bolton-born Ross told Peak Performance Coach Jamie Langley how watching fellow prop Bevan Rodd pull on an England shirt has driven him to improve.
Ross said: “I was a normal kid growing up. I didn’t have much structure but when I got to Lymm High School everyone played rugby. Through the age groups I progressed. The year above me had a brilliant team and it gave me something to aspire to.
“To be honest, a career in rugby was never the plan. I was going to go to university but then I got a contract at Sale Sharks when I was 17 – in my last year of sixth form.”
Since his debut in 2011, Prop Ross has clocked up more than 250 appearances for the club during a career that has also seen him called up to an England senior squad.
But despite his success, Ross says sticking to his processes has allowed him to perform consistently.
He said: “It’s all about having a drive and a focus to improve and to be consistent. Whether it’s in the gym, or on the field it’s about consistency and repetition for me.
“My diligence came from when I was young. I was OK at school but when I found the gym, I found something I could channel my energy into. It wasn’t something I could just do once a week – I had to keep going, get a routine and I loved it.
“For me, I need things to tick off. When I come into Carrington in the morning, I stretch, gym, train, recovery – I find out a routine that works for me. And what worked for me five years ago might not work now. Consistency is the key.
“Coming up through the Academy, I had guys like Andy Sheridan, Tony Buckley, Fridge and Peter Stringer. They were legends and they were relentless. I’ve tried to take their best bits and go with it – I’ve been lucky to learn from the best.
“Having mentors has been massive. As I grew up, I had PE teachers I looked up to and I wanted to impress them. They were role models, and it was massive in moulding the person I’ve become.”
As one of the club’s senior players, Ross now does what he can to pass on his experience to younger members of the squad – including some fellow front-rowers.
He added: “I learn off the young lads like Bevan Rodd and James Harper as much as they look up to me. They’re great lads and to see them doing well is brilliant for me personally, but it’s great for the club as well.
“The way that Bevan has taken it and gone with it drives me to want to improve. I need to catch up with him now!
“I’ve been here for ten years and it’s been a really enjoyable journey. But with the players we’ve got here, the present is so exciting. We are in control of what we want to achieve.
“For me, I try not to look too far into the past or the future. I can only affect and focus on what’s here and now. I’ve really enjoyed thinking about that.”
Watch the full video here.