An Olympic Gold Medal is a wonderful achievement in anyone’s language, however, the way in which the inaugural Women’s Rugby Sevens Competition was won, was the spectacular success story. This team has only been in existence since 2012! Rugby Sevens was made an Olympic sport in 2009 and at that time, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) was committed to investing both time and money into the development of the women’s team.
They set up ‘talent identification’ camps after the London 2012 Games and players from team and individual sporting backgrounds such as rugby league, touch football, athletics and basketball were talent spotted and recruited, in addition to a few rugby union players thrown in for good measure.
They had their accommodation paid for by the ARU, so they could train together and develop their ‘team culture’. They were paid salaries, so they could train fulltime. They also had the benefit of fulltime coaching, training and medical staff. The majority of them had to be taught the basics of the game, such as tackling, but they brought with them inherent hand/eye coordination skills from ball sports, which gave them the grounding to learn the rugby sevens’ required skill sets. This disparate group of women became a team and along with it, World and Olympic champions.
A workable team is vital in any arena. You need to identify the behaviours and the skills which you can’t teach, so you have the groundwork for those skills you can teach. Whilst an Olympic Gold Medal may not be on offer for your team, having engaged staff, which results in low staff turnover and higher productivity, that’s worthy of a podium finish in anyone’s terms.
*Due to the very restrictive copyright laws about the use of Olympic images, I can’t use any Olympic image unless incurring the wrath of the IOC ( and their lawyers), so it gave me an excuse to use this great picture!