All Work, All Play: How Josh Balances Work and Rugby

by Dane Cobain at June 8, 2016

If you follow us on social media then you’ve probably heard all about fst creative Josh Thompson’s second career as a rugby player.

When he’s not in the studio, working on clients and inflicting his eclectic music taste on the rest of us, he’s at the gym or on the pitch, coaching Marlow Touch or playing for England’s national mixed open touch team.

We catch up with Josh to find out how he manages his work/life balance…


Josh Thompson


Can you give us a brief overview of your playing history?

I’ve always played rugby from a young age. I played for my school, club and county, until my first year of university. I started playing touch rugby when I graduated because I wanted to get back into fitness. I played for Thames Valley in the national leagues before going on to regional trials.


You went to France recently. What was that for?

My coach invited me along with an old London team called the London Otters, who’ve mostly gone on to form a new team called the Scorpions. We went to a place called Gif-sur-Yvette, where there’s a massive touch tournament. This year was the 11th anniversary and there were about twenty teams, including teams from England, the Netherlands, France and Malaysia. It was amazing, especially because we won.


What do you take from touch to apply to fst (and vice versa)?

At fst, you’re working with more experienced people – in terms of your colleagues – and it’s the same when you’re playing touch. The more experienced you are, the more you help other people out. At touch, I learned leadership and teamwork skills, as well as how to put on events. When it comes to work, it’s so much easier when you’ve done different things because you already have the ideas.


Tell us more about Marlow touch

When I first started, I just went down to play, and then became an ambassador which meant that I had to do certain tasks to encourage participation and to bring in new players. I took everything I learned from the Thames Valley Vikings, who are in the national league, and used it to create a format for the sessions to keep people interested and engaged.


How do you balance it with work?

I try to limit weekday touch to three nights a week. If I know I’ve got touch after work then I try to get my head down and get everything done on time. Sometimes it’s nice to finish work and to play touch to blow off steam. Because you’re just throwing a ball around, it’s not always strenuous – it’s like the equivalent of going to the pub with your mates.

It does take time and sometimes it gets tiring, but you’ve got to know when to step back and to take some time to yourself. It’s exactly the same with work – you need to take regular breaks if you want to be at your best.


What’s it like to work on the sports brands we work on?

ECB was really cool, because I used to be really into cricket. LGC was another good one, because it’s all about sports drug development. When you’re playing at a high level, you’ve got to be careful about what you put into your body – you’ve got to eat well, but you don’t always know what’s in a product. firefly™ was also interesting – I went to the Rugby Innovation Summit this week, and they were talking about injury prevention and treatment. I mentioned firefly™ to a few of the guys that were there – it’s an interesting product.