Part 2 – The growth was incredible! 🏉💪
The one class turned into two classes, then three classes very quickly with parents and children enjoying classes, and sharing this information with their friends! Children were having fun and parents were seeing the benefits of didi rugby first hand.. the younger children (didi minis 18 months-3 years) were tired and having naps after classes, they were developing their physical motor skills, like balance and coordination, but also their understanding of colours, numbers , concepts of play and socialising with their peers!
Our philosophy was, and still is that each child will come out of every session having had fun, gained some confidence, and been physically active! We ensure this happens by making sure that all our didi coaches follow our mantra PACE , VARIETY and CHALLENGE .. my 13 years in education as a PE teacher/ Head of Department and a School Sports Coordinator.. allowed me to streamline and decide what is crucially important to little ones and their parents.
didi rugby is what I consider a win win for all parties… and there are lots of them!
Parents – give their children a fabulous social and physical experience.. and they have a 40 minute slot where they are fully committed to playing/engaging with their children
Children – have fun!! Exercise which makes them feel good (endorphins being released in their brains) , and learning to play, share and engage with other little ones
Coaches – get paid to enjoy coaching, and feel a really sense of achievement seeing huge progress in little didi stars each session
Assistant Coaches – gain valuable experience and training towards being a Head Coach – didi creates the opportunity for coaches to reach their potential as well as the children
didi rugby Ambassadors – the opportunity to “give back” and inspire little ones with video messages and competition give always to encourage little ones to see them as real role models…
Very quickly our classes trebled in volume .. within a 5 mile radius .. we had 9 classes running within 6 months of starting the programme in Hinckley and Burbage . Working closely with Matt Cropp and Denise McCormack (my Mum) … the magic number was 30 classes and Ben and I went on a mission to bring didi rugby to every child we possibly could… our model has now extended from weekend classes to schools/nurseries and mid week classes across the county of Leicestershire .. we also started delivering birthday parties.. and within 1 year we hit the magic number of 30 classes (which included schools, nurseries and regular classes) … at this point – we revisited our plan .. can we lift this model and put it somewhere else in the country with the same success? The only way to find out was to pilot it and that’s what we did in Hertfordshire.. under the capable eyes of James Nolan – a former NZ representative junior player along with a great coaching background .. his postman role enabled him to start up and grow the business . He gave us the confidence and the confirmation that the model was viable – along with a lot of number crunching and expert advice our franchising model was born! Now it was to find our very own Franchise Manager in Sanchia Delacy.. a childhood friend of mine who had been closely monitoring our progress.. as a former car director of Franchisees in the corporate world she quickly turned her experience there into an incredible resource for didi rugby to start our franchising journey … and like they say the rest is History!
Martin Crowson – former leicester Tigers journalist for local paper – also came on board who has been following our story from its conception and his journalistic background and marketing experiences, gave us a brilliant social media presence and had a knack for sharing lovely stories of our didi rugby stars, parents and coaches and managed to capture our super family feel .
We were able to show successful businesses that were thriving with the didi rugby model at their fingertips… we had an amazing Head Quarters team in place and with the addition of our didi rugby Lawyer Andrew Forsythe and Leicestershire rugby referee… who gave us the legal support to ensure that we had the correct legal processes.. we were ready to Franchise!
It seems strange to put all that work and effort into a few paragraphs of text, but I know the blood, sweat and tears that went with this. The best successes came from realising mistakes and refining processes… every day was – and still is – a school day! The work from the whole team was phenomenal – from the Head of Franchising to our assistant coaches on the ground day to day – I am so grateful to everyone who made sure that didi became the well oiled machine that it was … and at its heart was ensuring all children were having Fun , gaining Confidence and getting Active!
My next chapter was about to begin as I had left education as a Head of PE, and gone full time into didi rugby…. and now franchising of our model! I kept up my elite coaching alongside this doing my level 4 RFU course to ensure that I kept my hand in the game at that level. This was a really nice combination as the level 4 course was very much about strategic planning and process – leadership and management being huge in this… as well as going deep into elite coaching and the philosophy around it. My dissertation was on how culture and environment plays a key role optimising performance in elite sport. The transferable skills from business to sport were so evident, so I really felt that I was developing Vicky the business woman alongside the elite sports coach… it was as always a WIN WIN!