Scotland pair attend first women’s World Rugby High Performance Academy

Scotland pair attend first women’s World Rugby High Performance Academy

​Scottish Rugby coaches Louise Dalgliesh and Lucie Milne recently attended the first women’s World Rugby High Performance Academy in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The Academy invited 43 delegates from 16 unions to attend a week-long programme to support the global development of women in rugby and drive inspirational leadership on and off the field of play.

The participants were drawn from across the world with careers in various strands of the high-performance network, including coaches, match officials and strength and conditioning experts.

Former Scotland cap and Scottish Futures U18 Assistant Coach for this season, Dalgliesh, and Milne, strength and conditioning coach at Dollar Academy, heard from industry professionals in a variety of topics each morning, including sports psychology and how to build their profile and credibility in the sporting landscape.

Dalgliesh said the most beneficial part of the academy was the fact that coaches from all across the world, with varying levels of experience and cultures, were all coming together.

“There was a lot of information being shared and practises being spoken about.

“We discussed how our unions were approaching different areas and discussed the shared challenges that people face across the world, regardless of how well-developed rugby was in their area.”

Milne works with athletes primarily in the sports of hockey and rugby at the Clackmannanshire School and was nominated to attend by Scottish Rugby’s Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach, Andy Boyd, following the work she did with the governing body for her dissertation at the University of Edinburgh, and further work with Scottish age-grade teams.

She shared the same thoughts about how important it was that professionals from across the world got together to discuss similar topics.

“The most valuable thing from me from the week was the networking,” she said.

“It was really interesting to spend time with people from across the world who are in very similar set-ups to myself.

“The coaches we worked with played rugby at an incredible level, so they were able to pass on a lot of information. I’m not from a rugby playing background, so this insight was really valuable.”

Dalgliesh added: “The big thing that I took home from the academy was having the confidence in ourselves as coaches to push on and take a step up to a new level, whatever that is for any of us at any point.

“Whether that’s to establish ourselves in squads at the moment or to really push the quality of what we are doing and make sure that we are living and trying to promote the high performance attitude as coaches, and continue to develop to put that quality into everything that we are doing.

“Having the variety of sessions from on-field coaching to talks about sports psychology, encouraged us to ensure that we are pulling it all together.

​“To really operate at the highest level, we need to have the appreciation of all of the factors that will impact our players and ourselves in a high-performance environment.” Louise Dalgiesh

Participants looked at the sport as a whole and how their roles play a part in the development of the women’s game.

They learned about the other specialist strands that were attending so that they could go home with a better mindset about the work of all specialists.

Lucie concluded: “Throughout the whole week there was a theme of professional development.

“We had a professional plan in place, and we had a mentor which we had one to ones with and who helped us plan our goals.

“It has definitely given me a much clearer vision of where I want to go with my career. It highlighted options that I didn’t think that I had before.

“It made the dream like jobs seem more attainable.” Lucie Milne

Photo credit: World Rugby
Photo caption: All participants at the Academy (Lucie - front row far right, Louise - middle row 7th from right)

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