I owed Julie Hayton a lot after getting back on the pitch following a long-standing groin injury.
I have had things like shoulder injuries before where you know it will take between three and four months to get back on the pitch.
A groin injury is much more different though and it took me a long, long time to get better from that soon after I joined Leicester Tigers. There was no time limit to it and that is tough to deal with as a professional sportsman.
Julie kept telling me to try and hit tiny, tiny targets. I had setbacks too and tended to mope around a bit when they came. Julie was brilliant on that front. She knew exactly when to put her foot down and tell me to shut up, crack on and get on with it.
With injuries like this, you can really get down as a player because it is hard to mentally prepare yourself for a comeback. That can affect your drive and Julie was excellent at consoling me at the right time – but giving me a kick up the arse when I needed one too.
That mental side of a recovery is important and Julie really knows which buttons to press to get the best out of you. It’s hard to teach that.