Pictured: The visiting students with Rochelle "Rocky" Clark in the middle sporting her gold medal from the Women's Rugby World Cup win.
England Women’s Rugby star Rochelle “Rocky” Clark MBE inspired a group of young women from Hillingdon to try out the sport at Uxbridge College.
Prop “Rocky”, as she is known, worked with around 40 girls from Haydon School, Vyners School and Harefield Academy during a day of skills sessions and educational workshops run as part of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. She talked about her career and ran a practical workshop involving ball handling, attacking and scoring tries.
The national This Girl Can campaign is designed to get young women more involved in sport, and Uxbridge College hosted a series of events including lacrosse, boxing, gym, football, netball and rugby, and there were also educational activities looking into nutrition and stereotyping in sport.
Rocky said: “I’m really impressed by Uxbridge College and the facilities here and found it really rewarding to work with the students. If I can motivate even one or two people to be more active I’ll feel I have done my job - there’s something for everyone. I think it’s great the way the This Girl Can campaign has snowballed.”
Eloise Newman, Sports Lecturer, said: “It was a great opportunity for both Uxbridge College and our visiting students to take part in the This Girl Can campaign. Rochelle Clark was a real inspiration, talking about how she got into rugby and sharing her challenges along the way, which anyone could relate to. We hope the event will encourage the students to get more active - they certainly finished the day with a lot of enthusiasm to carry on.”
Rocky, who recently won her 100th cap and was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to rugby, talked about her career as a player and coach. She talked about how she started to play at the age of 15, gaining her nickname when she played in Canada, and gaining her 100th cap. The England Women Rugby Team won Team of the Year at the BBC’s Sports Personality Awards 2014, following England’s World Cup win against Canada in 2014. She is head coach of the Chesham Stags and Bucks University and also works as a personal trainer.
This Girl Can builds on research commissioned by Sports England into why women are less likely than men to take part in sport, identifying fear of judgement as a unifying barrier to taking part. Specific barriers included feeling self-conscious and unfeminine, anxiety about activities being too competitive, and not knowing the rules of team sports.
The aim of the events was to help the participants feel more confident about themselves, their bodies and their freedom to enjoy physical activity, no matter what their level of ability.