We caught up with University of Brighton women's rugby coach Lucy Callingham.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your coaching background
Hi my name is Lucy Callingham and I coach the University of Brighton Women's Rugby Team. My job outside of the Panthers is working for England Rugby as a Community Rugby Coach, primarily working with local coaches to develop their coaching and working in schools and colleges to grow the game. I started my coaching journey at university myself, gaining my initial coaching qualifications in exchange for volunteering in local primary schools. Upon returning back to Sussex, I was lucky to gain work experience with England Rugby who were working with the University of Brighton at the time to grow a Womens Rugby Team. Through England Rugby and Sport Brighton I was funded to complete my level 2 Coaching Qualification. Not only did this allow me to lead the coaching at the university the following season, but also allowed me to gain my initial role with England Rugby as a Women and Girls Development Officer. After 3 years as a development officer, I took up the offer to become a Community Rugby Coach, as the thought of getting to coach every day over sitting in meetings seemed much more rewarding. As part of this role, I’ve had the opportunity to coach at amazing venues such as Twickenham Stadium, The Stoop, Allianz Park, Trafalgar Square and even a Prison! I’m now also undertaking my Level 3 Coaching Qualification, which is a 12-18 month process, but I am looking forward to the challenges and experience this will give me and those I coach. Had it not been for the support Sport Brighton and England Rugby gave to me, I would not be here 7 years later working for England Rugby or the University of Brighton.
2. Where else do you coach?
I am currently Head Coach of Hove Womens Rugby Club. This role has been my biggest challenge to date, with the 1st Team playing in the 2nd tier nationally. It’s been great to build a relationship between Hove WRFC and the Panthers Womens Rugby. This season has seen 4 panthers transition into the 2nd Team at club and 2 panthers into the 1st Team, with a couple more playing occasional games. It is also great to still see several graduates still playing at the club post university. During the summer I also coach the Sussex County Women Team. Last season we managed to get to the National Final at Twickenham but unfortunately lost to Lancashire.
3. Best high performance experience you have had?
During the past year I was lucky enough to have two amazing experiences getting to shadow England Womens 7s Team and Wales Mens 7s Team. During this time I got to see the inner workings of high performance sport. It was amazing to see the fine details these athletes and coaches work to both on and off the pitch. It also gave me lots to reflect on in my own coaching and I am looking forward to trying some of my learnings with both the Panthers and Hove WRFC.
4. Best thing about coaching the Brighton Panthers?
To choose just one thing I love about coaching the Panthers is hard! I love getting to see how the students develop as players and people over the course of the years they are with us. It's amazing to see how they grow in confidence both on and off the pitch and take the experience they have had into their graduate life.