Lee Douglas

Qualification & subject:
Undergraduate BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning
International Rugby Sevens Strength and Conditioning Coach

What I do 

I’m currently a strength and conditioning coach for the Canada Sevens team. Previously, I worked with the 20 England Women’s Sevens players who signed professional contracts in September 2014 with the Rugby Football Union – 12 of whom won the Women’s Rugby World Cup. As a Strength and Conditioning coach, I’m responsible for making sure the players are in peak physical condition, whether that’s by giving them more power, more speed or making them fitter. We do weights every day but we also do speed work, conditioning and work with the physios on rehab and injury prevention.

How I got here

The opportunity to study strength and conditioning and play rugby at Hartpury University was too hard to turn down. I realised quite quickly I wouldn’t go that far with my rugby and I knew that I loved the practical, conditioning side of my course so in my second year, I redirected my energy into my studies. The knowledge and the contacts I gained at Hartpury University opened up an internship opportunity at Worcester Warriors in the summer after I completed my degree. I did everything I could to try to make myself indispensable and ended up being offered a full-time contract with their Academy.

I stayed at Worcester for six years before becoming assistant S and C coach at Edinburgh and then taking on the head S and C role at Bristol Rugby - that was fantastic progression for me. I started my current role with England Women in August 2014.

My time at Hartpury University

Hartpury University was the best decision I ever made. I truly believe that if I’d gone somewhere else, I wouldn’t be where I am now. The quality of the players and the coaches at Hartpury was incredible and I felt privileged to be studying in an environment that was so close to being at a professional club and that was at the forefront of developments in the industry. Initially I didn’t know which career to pursue, I just wanted to play sport but being on my course, I was learning from the best and was able to apply what we learned in the lecture theatre straight away out on the pitch and in gym sessions. That really fed my enthusiasm and made me want more.

Getting ahead in the industry

First and foremost you’ve got to love what you do. From the outside this looks like a nice job, but the demands on you are high. There are a lot of sessions and unsociable hours. So you have to be passionate about it and be willing to work very hard. When I was at Worcester, I moved to live with my aunt and cycled to the club every day because I couldn’t drive at the time! I see a lot of people with internships and it is the ones that work the hardest, go out of their way and show initiative and make themselves invaluable that are kept on.