Coaching Laid Bare with Carol Isherwood

Bird and LJ welcome to the podcast Carol Isherwood, OBE.

Carol was a founder member of the women’s RFU, captain Great Britain and England international teams in their games. She was the first woman to achieve a L3 coaching award in England and was performance director of women’s rugby in England too.

As well as being awarded an OBE for services to women’s rugby, she is in the World Rugby Hall of Fame and consults for World Rugby.

They asked Carol the following questions:

  • Take us back to 1981 when you first set up a women’s team at Leeds University. What was it like to be a women’s rugby player back then, how hard was it to set up and get people to take Women’s rugby seriously?
  • You were the first secretary of the Women’s Rugby Football Union/Board When did the RFU come on board and what were the benefits of merging with them?
  • In 1987 you were appointed as National Coaching and development Officer then Technical Director in a voluntary role from 1987-1995 ( 8 years!). Both massive roles: What was your full-time job during this time and how did you manage both roles? (were you still playing then?)
  • You held a variety of coaching roles from 1992-1998 and were the first woman to receive the RFU L3 coaching Award. What was it like being the only female on the course? How have things changed for females aspiring to become coaches?
  • From 1997-2008 you became a paid Performance Director for the RFUW. What changes did you implement and what were you most proud of achieving in this role?
  • In 2009 you became lead in Rugby Performance and Governance for Scotland women’s rugby. What changes did you implement here?
  • You are currently a consultant for World Rugby and have set up the women’s high-performance coaching programme. What growth have you seen across the world in terms of female coaches and what needs to happen now in different countries to support this programme?
  • What was it like working in the FA? What was the biggest learning/ differences from working in football and rugby?
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