Young didi coach Caitlin stars in Daily Telegraph article on girls rugby

didi rugby Reading coach and keen rugby player Caitlin Clark smiles next to two happy children

Young didi rugby coach Caitlin Clark is the star of a new feature article in the Daily Telegraph.

The 17-year-old daughter of didi rugby Reading franchise co-owner Donna Clark tells the story of how she has always had to battle against the system as a young female rugby player striving to be able to develop her skills at the same pace as boys.

Having played the game side-by-side boys as a youngster, things changed dramatically when mixed sexes were not allowed to play together from the age of 12.

All of a sudden, boys were playing on bigger pitches, playing longer matches, allowed to push in the scrum and hand-off, while girls were not.

A picture of the page from the Daily Telegraph featuring Caitlin Clark's story
Caitlin Clark in the Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph

Caitlin, who has ambitions to reach the England national team as a player, said she felt held back and put down.

She told the Telegraph: “I actually questioned whether rugby was a sport I should be doing. It was almost as if us girls weren’t worthy enough of playing because the rules were – and still are – so different, especially physically. Things were and still are so simplified for girls at that level.”

As a teenager, Caitlin was always bigger than most other girls in her under-13 age group, yet she was forced to train with nine-year-old girls nearly half her size. While boys were allowed to play up an age group, the rules didn’t allow Caitlin to move up into the under-15s.

Changes in the rules

The Telegraph feature goes on to outline Caitlin’s frustrations as a female rugby player and cites other discrepancies and inconsistencies in the grass roots game facing girls, as opposed to boys. With the numbers of girls playing the game increasing, it will be interesting to see if the game’s governing body (RFU) make any changes in the rules and structure in the coming years.

Whatever happens on the playing front, Caitlin is a hugely-respected member of the didi rugby Reading coaching team and is loved by dozens of youngsters she coaches on a regular basis.

Reading co-owner Craig Hunter said: “When didi rugby Reading launched in early 2018, Caitlin came along with Donna Clark, her mum and my business partner, to help us out. She has been with us ever since.

didi rugby coach Caitlin Clark with a young boy at a class
didi rugby Reading coach Caitlin Clark in action

Confidence

“She has developed her confidence and coaching skills throughout this time and is everything we look for in a coach. She has excellent rapport with all the didi superstars and parents alike and is a great role model for them all – but in particular the girls.

“With the development of the girls game at club level going from strength to strength, we are really keen to progress the didi players into club rugby when they are ready to join the Under-6 age groups. As soon as we can get Caitlin on an RFU Level 2 rugby course, we will, and she can then look to lead sessions on her own and build a team of coaches around her to help didi rugby Reading grow.

“Caitlin is also very keen to deliver kids didi rugby parties as soon as we are able to so safely and in line with Government and RFU guidelines, something she will be excellent at I have no doubt. If we could clone Caitlin we would.

didi rugby coach

Mum Donna added: “As a parent, I can’t put into words how proud I am of Caitlin, she has been playing rugby since she was six years old and has always shown great tenacity and passion for the game.

“With such determination, she has gone from strength to strength both on and off the pitch. She never ceases to amaze me with everything she has achieved whether it be at club, county and Centre of Excellence level.

“I have also seen her blossom as a didi rugby coach, she has such patience and can instantly spot a child that might be struggling or needs a bit of extra support and just knows how to make them smile and helps them gain their confidence.

“Her years as a rugby player have helped bring her expertise to a coaching role and through creating her own session plans ensures that every child progresses with the fundamentals of the game, whilst having fun!”

Read more: England star Alex Matthews launches didi rugby Worcester

Read more: didi rugby is booming after ‘survive then thrive’ attitude during covid-19 lockdown

WATCH: Reading coaches delight at ‘hilarious and fulfilling classes’…

 

 

didi rugby founder Vicky Macqueen becomes an RFU Level 4 coach

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen smiling after becoming an RFU Level 4 coach

The founder and CEO of didi rugby, Vicky Macqueen, has become an RFU Level 4 coach after 18 months of study.

It means she is one of less than 10 women in the country to hold such a prestigious coaching position, which is designed and delivered by the game’s governing body, the Rugby Union.

She joins fellow Level 4-holders Wasps director of rugby Giselle Mather and soon-to-be Exeter Chiefs Women’s head coach, Susie Appleby, who is also a didi rugby franchise holder.

Although Vicky said she would like to get involved in similar high-level coaching one day, she said her 100% commitment at the moment was to the continued growth of didi rugby.

And she believes that large parts of the information she learned studying to become an RFU Level 4 coach will help grow and improve didi rugby in the future.

“It has been an amazing process with so much to learn and I feel really privileged to have completed it,” said Vicky. “It has taught me a lot in terms of rugby leadership but for didi rugby too because there is lots of coaching, management and psychology involved.

Level 4 coach

“There are so many aspects to achieving Level 4 and it has been a great educational experience for me.

“There is a massive overlap between business and sport and this has bought everything together for me to help enhance didi rugby.

“The growth of didi means I need to be 100% involved in the business and the mentoring of franchise holders at the minute. But I love coaching and being out on the field so taking on a role with a club in the future in definitely in my sights…if I get the time!

Vicky was approached by the RFU to join their coach educator team a couple of years ago and that is another string to her bow in terms of helping and mentoring coaches of the future.

RFU Framework

She was also inviting to consult on the RFU’s Early Years Framework – released earlier in 2019 – to help clubs focus in on the best ways to develop children’s interest in the sport from a very young age.

didi rugby plays an active part in helping clubs implement that framework and has developed formal links with clubs in England to create a natural pathway for children to keep playing the game when they graduate from didi rugby age groups.

With Vicky designing all of the programmes and care at didi rugby, parents can be assured that their kids are in very good hands and are being taught all of the right things if they come to a didi rugby class.

Book your child in for a free taster session at a didi rugby class around the country: https://didirugby.com/find-a-class/

WATCH MORE: didi rugby’s Vicky Macqueen was thrilled to be invited to consult on the RFU’s Early Years Framework programme