"Sport is not gender specific, everyone is welcome" - Laura Luedke
Scottish Rugby are celebrating Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week!
This week, we’re hearing from female rugby leaders and players from across the country as they share with us what they love about rugby.
Despite a background in football, Laura Luedke is now a self-proclaimed rugby lover.
Just four years after starting as a Physical Education teacher at St Paul’s High School in Glasgow, Laura has been an instrumental leader in developing the school’s rugby programme.
Starting with four boys and two girls, the school’s rugby offering which includes Primary and Secondary curriculum delivery, extra-curricular coaching, leadership qualifications and access to a competition pathway, now supports over 100 pupils.
Laura sat down with Scottish Rugby for a Q&A on her experience as a rugby leader and the positive impacts the game can have on young people in particular.
What role does rugby play in supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of young people in your school?
“Rugby is essential for our pupils in supporting their physical and mental wellbeing.
“Many of the pupils would never have considered themselves 'sporty' before participating in rugby but they have developed and grown in confidence over the years through involvement in sport.
“The rugby programme has helped pupils gain new friends and strengthen peer relationships where they feel included and valued as part of a team."
“This has been particularly important following the pandemic where many struggled with their mental health as a result of being isolated from their friendship groups during lockdown and lacking in the exercise they were used to having during normal times."
“Now we are back to training and competing, it's been great to watch them relieve stress and bond again as a team.”
What do you enjoy most about your role in delivering rugby?
“What I really enjoy the most is watching the pupils learn what they are capable of and seeing them gain confidence in themselves, becoming more vocal in large groups and building friendships with other pupils around the city.
“The success pupils experience in rugby is one of my biggest highlights. I always ensure they know success comes in different forms and it's not all about the winning although the pupils have a drive to win everything they can, and I love to watch them succeed!
“Another favourite memory mine was when the Glasgow Warriors players visited for a training session and helped lead different groups during training. Everyone had a fantastic time!
Why do you think it’s important for women and girls to be involved in sport?
“There are still a number of barriers for women and girls in sport, both real and perceived. I think one way we can overcome these barriers is by having a female role model or coach.
“I believe it is important for girls as they can better relate to and learn from other women and girls allows them, allowing them to grow in confidence competing in sport."
“As the leader of the rugby programme in St Paul's, I hope it highlights to our girls that sport is not gender specific and that everyone is welcome in sport so that they continue to play into their adult life."
“For any other women out there who would like to consider taking a step into rugby, whether as a coach or player, I would definitely recommend it.
“I knew nothing about rugby when I first became involved as I am a footballer and still don’t know everything, I am always learning! But if anyone is considering starting up rugby for their pupils or a local group of young people, then I would encourage you to go for it.
“There are lots of great courses offered by Scottish Rugby to get you started and I promise, you'll find contact rugby less intimidating than it initially seems.”