Saints’ Katie Jewell balancing women’s rugby with men’s coaching
- Credit: Archant
As a full time patent attorney, few would judge Dr Katie Jewell for neglecting her sporting passion of rugby.
An increasingly busy profession prevents many from finding the work/play balance that is recommended. However, Jewell’s involvement in rugby stretches far wider than just playing the game.
Currently playing for the Old Albanian Saints in the Championship South East league, Jewell has begun the transition into coaching the men’s teams at Kilburn Cosmos for the last two years alongside head coach Andrew Hutt.
“I like the balance I have with coaching and playing as both offer me something completely different,” said Jewell.
“For some people rugby’s very intuitive, it switches the brain off. When coaching, I am constantly thinking, always analysing. In that way they’re very different but it’s the same game and there’s a close relationship between the two.”
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As a player, it was at Saracens where Jewell achieved her biggest accolades in the women’s game. Playing both as a loosehead prop and hooker, she was part of the squad that won back-to-back women’s premiership in 05/06 and 06/07.
“I was really lucky during the time I was playing for Saracens as they were pretty much the top club,” she said.
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“We had players like Claire Frost, Karen Andrew, Leslie Cripps as well as internationals from all over the world training and playing and really pushing for honours, cups and league wins. It was a really great time to be involved with the club.”
After such highs, Jewell was forced into over five years on the sidelines through injury and time out needed to complete her professional qualifications. Unable to play and with professional commitments to uphold, Jewell decided to experience the other side by becoming a coach, joining the coaching staff at Kilburn Cosmos.
“I think what coaching gave me was the opportunity to stay involved in rugby and to pass on a lot of what I had learned to develop other players. It mitigated the fact that I wasn’t playing but it is a different animal, it ticks different boxes,” she said.
Jewell later signed up to the QBE Coaching Club, which provides a great opportunity for people to get involved in rugby coaching at grassroots level. QBE, the business insurance specialist, and England Rugby launched the initiative at Twickenham Stadium back in 2012, and this partnership aims to see 2,015 new level two rugby coaches recruited and trained by September 2015.
With QBE and England Rugby well on the way to reaching their 2,015 target, Jewell was first to highlight the benefits.
“Coaching for me isn’t just about player development, it’s about individual development and it’s about exchanging ideas,” she explained.
“What I like about the QBE Coaching Club is that it gives you a chance to meet other coaches and to learn new approaches to coaching. Being able to get external input and feedback on the way I coach has been an invaluable experience for my own development.”
Whilst being appointed club captain at Old Albanian Saints, Jewell has created a formidable partnership at Kilburn Cosmos with Andy Hutt and following last season’s promotion from Herts Middlesex Two division, the team finished third place in Herts Middlesex One.
“What’s great about coaching at Cosmos now is our head coach, Andy Hutt, who has a great vision for the club,” she said.
“He’s very supportive, very encouraging, lets me get as involved as my time schedule allows me to be. I’d like to think we’re on the same wavelength in terms of how we see the matches and see the team developing.”
If you’re interested in taking part and committing to community coaching beyond 2015, please email QBECC@rfu.com.