Building culture and mindset with England Women’s Rugby

Patrick Marr photograph from a screenshot image of the Inside Line video from England Roses

I’m delighted to be working with England Women’s Rugby – the Red Roses – as they prepare for the new WXV tournament in New Zealand and look ahead to the Six Nations in 2024 and the home World Cup in 2025.

This is an incredible opportunity to work with some outstanding athletes, coaches and leaders, something I’m truly grateful for. I’m involved at such an exciting and pivotal time for the Red Roses – and for Women’s rugby and sport in general – as they move forward strongly from the successful previous regime and begin a new journey of exploring different playing and coaching styles.

Resetting for a new era

As the team redefine what they stand for in the run-up to WXV, where they’ll take on hosts New Zealand, Australia and Canada in the coming weeks, I’m in the role of Women’s Leadership and Culture Coach, focusing on building performance culture and mindset.

England Rugby is putting out a behind-the-scenes docuseries, going into camp to capture the team’s prep, including everything from brutal conditioning sessions to light-hearted bonding moments.

In the first episode of ‘Inside Line’, I touch on how having fun and being playful not only allows us to learn more but also helps to take away fear when getting into some deep areas, such as when the team have been getting to understand each other’s ‘whys’ and how they see the world – and giving each other performance feedback.

Courage, bond, lead

The team created and defined their new values – courage, bond, lead – together. These values are theirs, and the genuine engagement I’m seeing with these values is because they established and formed them collectively.

From early on, this group talked about being “a team that wants to go to war together and to go on holiday together”, and this strong bond is so visible in our discussions so far. We’re anchoring these sessions in belonging, with the players encouraged and supported to share what belonging in this environment looks and feels like to them, and why that’s important for high performance.

I’m incredibly proud to be around such talented people committed to becoming more self-aware and to understanding each other’s ‘whys’, so they can support and drive each other forward as they inspire the next generation.

Go well in New Zealand, team!


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