Clark tames 'inner chimp' ahead of November Tests
ESPN Staff
November 1, 2014
Calum Clark is in line for his England debut in the November Tests © Getty Images

Northampton flanker Calum Clark insists he has tamed his 'inner chimp' after working with sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.

Clark, who is part of England's training squad ahead of the autumn internationals, was banned for 32 weeks in March 2012 after breaking the elbow of Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins during the LV= Cup final.

He has since gone on to captain England Saxons and could make his debut as a full international in the November Tests after being called into Stuart Lancaster's 33-man squad.

"The inner chimp was pretty aggressive, he was unwilling to listen and unwilling to learn," Clark said. "That is something I feel I have been able to improve on and develop - being honest with myself, taking a look in the mirror and being willing to take things on."

Peters has an impressive record as a sport psychiatrist. He was instrumental in helping Great Britain's cyclists in their rise to Olympic domination, and has also worked with the Liverpool and England football squads and snooker world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Peters coined the term 'inner chimp' to highlight the section of the brain that deals with emotion and his book, The Chimp Paradox, describers skills people can learn to tame those emotions to achieve their goals.

He has been an influential figure in English rugby for nearly seven years, first working with the national side in the build-up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Hooker Dylan Hartley has credited him with transforming the way he prepares himself mentally before Tests.

Clark, who was also sent off in the 2008 Junior World Cup final, says his work with Peters helps him stay grounded before matches.

"It started with a bit of work with Steve Peters," he said. "I went to see him a few times and took a lot from it. I read his book and it is something that grounds me when I am approaching the game."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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