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Sunday 4 December 2016

Keeping your balance

A member of the Dublin senior hurling team since 2011, Paul Schutte has won League and Leinster titles while also pursuing a career and studying for banking exams. Like any high performing athlete, balancing other aspects of his life can be difficult, so how does Paul do it? Eric Davidson investigates

"It's definitely very difficult to balance playing for club and county with a career," Paul explains. "You can see from the amount of people retiring recently just how difficult it's getting."

Training five days a week, along with working full-time isn't always easy, especially when players like Paul have to juggle many other things too.

"I'm also doing exams at the moment, so it's very hectic. You really have to surround yourself with supportive people because you have to make sacrifices. However, we haven't won the All-Ireland yet, so we're always trying to go that extra mile. So the demands are increasing."

After suffering from a back injury last year Paul also took up Pilates, which is another time consuming activity.

"I wasn't able to walk or run, so I had to start doing Pilates on top of the training I already did. If I stop that for even a week or two I find myself struggling to run, so it's necessary to fit it into my schedule."

Worthwhile

However, the opportunity to play for your county makes all this juggling of time worth it. And Paul is not short of great memories in a Dublin jersey.

"It's hard to pick a favourite moment for Dublin. It's a toss of the coin between winning the League in 2011 and winning the Leinster Championship in 2013.

"In theory it's better to win a Leinster Championship, but at the same time Dublin hadn't won a significant trophy in many years, which meant the League victory was extra sweet. It was unexpected, so it felt like a bigger achievement."

Paul says his teammates are excited to get stuck into the upcoming Championship.

"This is what gets you through the winter months," he explains. "All of the demands and sacrifices are worth it when you think about running out onto that field in Croker. We're really looking forward to it."

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