Life Lessons from Rugby

Kate Vandamme

Having spent many years enjoying watching rugby, I was inspired to write a blog dedicated to the skills that rugby players show on the field. Having listed out their skills, I wondered how many of them could be transferred to our everyday lives. 

When I started to make a list, I was really surprised at how many of them were quite relatable to my everyday life. By the end, my list comprised of nearly 20 skills!! 

The first on my list was actually inspired by watching Wales play against France last weekend. France started out being in a very strong position and kept their lead right up until around 10 minutes before the end of the match! Wales were struggling but they didn’t give up – even when they were knocked down (lots!). They continued to push and ended up winning the match. Being able to be resilient is one of those skills a lot of clients ask me about. So, what is it and how do you start to build it? 

Resilience is your ability to cope with tough and challenging times without it having a permanent impact on your values and character. It’s the same thing that keeps driving you onwards, and lets you keep attempting a task you’ve failed before. Building and strengthening resilience can be done in several ways: 

For example, having a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will help you become a little clearer on what is perhaps holding you back, 

  • Breaking down challenges into small, more achievable goals can help a task not seem so daunting. This can help you persevere through longer difficult times knowing you are making progress. 
  • Identifying your strengths and values. Knowing that you are capable of achieving something helps prevent the negative self-doubt from creeping in and overwhelming you after set-backs. 
  • Knowing when to ask for support and help from others. Not only will this strengthen our relationships, it means we can access support when we need it. 

We all experience tough times and these are unavoidable but it is resilience that will help us through it. Resilience and self-esteem are also intertwined in a very complex way, so discussing how to build resilience with someone can strengthen your self-esteem too (and vice versa). 

When rugby players go out onto the field, they are putting huge trust in not only their teammates, they have trust that their opponents will play fairly and not cause them any injury, as well as trusting that the referee will call the match right down the middle and be fair. 

I have lost track of the amount of training courses I have attended over the years that ask you to pair up and fall backwards in the hope that your partner will catch you. Trust can be a huge thing for some people to navigate. Trusting someone means you believe they are reliable and you are confident you feel safe with them emotionally and physically. You cannot demand it because it is a choice you make. Sometimes giving trust makes us vulnerable and that is hard because you cannot possibly be in control of whether or not the other person will hurt you. 

The skills shown by there rugby players are very relatable to our lives and I know that this weekend, I will not just see players running on a field for 80 minutes but I will see discipline, patience, teamwork, dedication, good communication and sportsmanship. 


Kate Vandamme

Sunflower Counselling Perth

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