What I learned from playing Rugby

I'll be watching the England game this weekend!

With the Six Nations coming up again this weekend, I am reminded of when I decided (age 29) to join a rugby club rather than a gym. My reasoning was that it was an excellent way to keep fit, but also it would give me an even better social life!

I joined Heaton Moor Ladies, who didn’t have a full team at the time. They were trying to build one up, and as there were only about six of us, it meant lots of tackling practice at training and of course no chance of playing in a match.

After 6 months, I decided to join a bigger team, so I joined Manchester Ladies, who had a squad of about 22, a forwards coach and a backs coach. At my first training session there, they split into forwards and backs to do specific training, and I (after deciding I was going to be a full back, as it looked much less dangerous than some of the other positions) set off to join the backs and their coach.

Being 5 foot 11, the forwards coach spotted me and asked ‘Where do you think you’re going?’ ‘With the backs!’ I replied confidently. ‘I don’t think so,’ he replied. ‘You’re second row.’ And that was that!

I loved playing rugby. I loved tackling, I loved the adrenalin you got when you played, but more than anything, I loved being part of a team. I knew that if I had the ball and was running with it, at least one of my team mates would be behind me, without me even having to look to check. And I knew that after numerous scrums and my legs feeling like jelly, that if one of my team mates took off with the ball, I would somehow find the energy to run behind them and support them too.

I always look for team sports on people’s CV’s, as when people play a team sport, they just know how to work as part of a team. I often work with organisations where not only do individuals not work together, but entire departments seem to try and run independently.

Think of how much more effective we could all be if we worked together in organisations as effectively as the England Rugby Team work together!


  • Have a clear goal and everyone working together to achieve it
  • Make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities and what their role is within the team
  • For a team to be effective, there must be trust. Find ways of building trust within the team
  • Communicate clearly and ensure everyone is kept informed
  • Let your manager guide you into the role that you are best suited!

If you want any advice on Team Building, Building Trust or Developing High Performance Teams, please feel free to contact me.