We Reached out to Tomos Rosser, Welsh International lacrosse player and asked him to share his story of how he went from learning the ropes as a 1st year to scoring goals for his country. Check out the first of two parts about his story.
Year 1-Getting Started
Being born and bred in Wales, representing my country has been the highest achievement I could think of and has always been my number one goal when playing sport.
Sport had always been a front runner in my life from a very young age. With a keen interest in rugby and squash, I took the latter seriously and to a higher level, training with the Welsh Junior Squad until injury forced me to stop at 18, but I was able to carry on my rugby for the following year. Due to being shorter than average, I was always at a disadvantage while looking to progress my rugby and so, when heading to University, I had the intention to seek out a new sport that fitted my natural athletic abilities. Going to Loughborough University provided a rich range of sporting choice and so at the sports bazaar, during a blurry and forgetful fresher’s week, I stumbled across the Lacrosse club. Having signed up to multiple sports I threw my name on the sign-up sheet and headed to the taster sessions. I knew of the sport from back in Swansea where a mate of mine played for Swansea Hawks and a couple of guys from my school were involved with the Welsh U19’s, but had no experience of the game myself. After a few taster sessions I got involved with the Men’s 2nd team where I was coached by Ben Parkes for the year. As a D pole, I learnt the ropes of playing defence and got fully involved with extra sessions, looking like a proper fresher doing wall ball wherever possible. Throughout the year Ben provided me with extra coaching and opportunities to play for club side Nottingham City and the odd game for Swansea Hawks when I was back home which I always took to improve my game. On top of a great first year our 2nd team won our league, were runners up in the cup and I was awarded with Captain’s Player, which made joining the club that bit sweeter. As well as learning a new sport, the social aspect of the Lacrosse Club was a big factor in increasing my enthusiasm and so I attended all the socials and also went on tour. Throughout the summer I attended the Manchester 8’s with the Archlevel team where I began to play with a short stick finding out that a 3ft stick was a lot better suited to me than a 6ft one. During the summer I continued to improve on my stick skills and participated in shooting sessions. Towards the end of summer I played in the Bath 8’s tournament for Swansea Hawks and a friendly game vs Scotland development for the Welsh development team through open invite. All of these experiences of lacrosse made me realise that I wanted to take the sport seriously which led to my first pre-season with the University 1st team.
Year 2 & 3- Making the most of 2 Injury plagued seasons
Heading in to pre-season fully enthusiastic and having worked on my stick skills all summer, I was really looking forward to playing with what was a very talented 1st team who were straight off a 2nd place BUCS finish. The first week of pre-season went as well as it could have and I played in the first pre-season game. Then that’s when I first encountered shin splints. This chronic injury stayed with me throughout the season preventing me playing in a third of the first team games, pushing me to want to quit and along with finding out I had an inguinal hernia resulted in a very turbulent year. Throughout the season I made it to as many training sessions that my body would physically let me and when I wasn’t picked for 1st team games I played for the 2nd team whenever possible. Under the new Men’s Coach Travis Taylor we were taught to run through the pain and keep going until you physically couldn’t and this is where I fell short a lot of the year. However, after the season and the training died down I found that Summer Ball was where I made my biggest strides in my game with a main focus on learning how to face off. With the reduced amount of stress on the legs I was fit enough to play more and managed to get involved with Wales Dragons development team who were playing in the British National Championships (BNC’s) in 2014.The senior team were not playing in the tournament due to training commitments for the World Championships going on that summer. This allowed for a group of us to get involved with the Welsh set up playing against some of the highest standard Lacrosse in the country. That summer I headed out to Prague with the Team GB touring side and played in a very booze orientated yet high level of Lacrosse tournament and played against some strong American sides which only made me want to improve. Spending the summer watching the world championships in Denver on ESPN was when I really decided that I wanted to be out there representing Wales myself. After another lacrosse filled summer where I worked on certain parts of my game, my stick skills and playing in a few more tournaments, another pre-season beckoned.
This time, however, with taking better care of my legs, I managed the full 2 weeks and was able to begin the season in full swing. Unfortunately, about 5 games in I took an injury to the knee which pushed me out of action for 2 months until February. Coming back from the injury I played in attack and carried on the season there whilst also attending the open Wales trainings in preparation for the 2015 BNC’s. After training with the squad I got picked to play for the senior team in the championships in which I managed to bag a few goals and we ended up finishing 3rd. Following a decent performance in the BNC’s I was invited to represent Wales in a triangular tournament vs Scotland and an American Touring Side up in Stirling. Still managing injuries, I put in some solid performances which increased my determination to make the squad for the 2016 European Championships in Hungary. In order to pursue that goal I knew I had to get myself fit and healthy. So in June 2015 I went into surgery to have my hernia fixed which I put the majority of my injury time down to. That summer was then spent recovering and preparing myself for the trails which were coming up in September.
Stayed tuned for the second part of Tomos’ story of his road to the 2016 European Championship!
Photo credit to Loughborough University.