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'I'm trying to live as much of a professional lifestyle as I can': Chin on life as a full-time hurler

Wexford star Lee Chin is the latest GAA player to put a working career on hold for his inter-county career.

AS THE PHYSICAL and time demands of the inter-county game continues to rise, the average age of its players gets lower by the year.

Lee Chin Lee Chin was in Dublin today as eir sport announced details of its live coverage of the forthcoming Allianz Leagues. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

More college students than ever are part of county squads around the country, while in some cases GAA players have made big career decisions to extract the maximum out of themselves on the field.

Just this week, Waterford’s Hurler of the Year nominee Jamie Barron said he intended to pursue primary school teaching to facilitate his playing career.

Last year, Kilkenny’s four-time All-Star Richie Hogan revealed he put his teaching career on hold altogether to focus fully on his hurling.

Wexford star Lee Chin is the latest inter-county star to reveal he has essentially become a full-time athlete.

“At the moment I’m at home, I’m not working,” he says. “I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing at the moment, trying to live as much of a professional lifestyle as I possibly can. I’m enjoying it.

“I like having my own time and flexibility to work on whatever I want to work on and do whatever I want to do.

“For me, it’s nice to be able to do something like that but I can imagine it’s very, very tough for other guys who do have work commitments and especially guys that are on the Wexford panel that live in Dublin and have to do a lot of commuting too.”

Chin is one of the highest profile hurlers in the country and can draw a substantial income through ambassador work with various nutrition and clothing brands, and sponsorship events set-up by the GPA.

He dabbled with college and hairdressing in the past, but now the 25-year-old is content with immersing himself fully in his sport.

“The lifestyle that I do live, a lot of it is focused down to training,” he continues.

“Trying to improve on the little things, trying to improve on the smalls things. My life revolves a lot around workouts, fields sessions and training collectively but I do a lot of stuff by myself. I do a lot of recovery.

“In that regard, you’d imagine that’s how a professional sportsman lives. I wouldn’t call myself a professional sportsman but I try to live as close to that lifestyle as possible.”

David Moran made an interesting observation during the week in his assessment of where the inter-county game finds itself.

“It’s actually getting so much more amateur because you’re training harder than ever and still working,” Moran said.

In Chin’s case, his lifestyle allows him to effectively live like a full-time athlete.

While the majority of his team-mates must fit training around their working lives, the midfielder can spend his days recovering, stretching, doing prehab work and ensuring his diet is up to scratch.

“I do believe that every year is increasing in terms of the standard and commitment.

“Every year it seems to be going up another level, it doesn’t seem to plateau at all. I’d imagine it’s not the same type of schedule it was ten years ago.

Lee Chin Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“Every manager, every panel is trying to squeeze every bit out that they can in terms of performance, in terms of attitude, mental toughness; everything is that next little link on the chain.

“It’s about how strong you can make that [chain] which guarantees you can get results and gets you winning silverware.”

“My mother at home is very good. She always makes me lovely dinners whenever I want them. It’s a choice, it’s not really about what allows you to do it, it’s a choice if you want to do it and make it work within it.

“At the moment, I’m very happy in terms of what I’m doing. I don’t really want it to change too soon but I know, in the future, obviously, things will change but for the moment I’m happy with where I’m at.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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