Five Kinesiology student interns will be facilitating training sessions with members of the USA Women’s Rugby National Team during three visits to the campus this semester, beginning Feb. 23-24.
The students are collaborating with faculty sponsors Eliza Frechette and Judi LaBranche on instituting a workout program for the athletes and will participate in other activities including fitness assessments, nutritional education and sport psychology seminars.
The program came together during the 2011-12 school year. “Department chair Patty Freedson heard that USA Women’s Rugby was looking for places to host [their training sessions]. She knew I was interested in rugby, and thought our students might be interested in this internship,” said Frechette.
LaBranche offered to donate space in the Body Shop Fitness Center, operated in Totman Gym by the Kinesiology Department, and lent her expertise in conditioning and training to the mix. “We had two interns last year and the students had a lot of great experiences so we decided to do this again,” Frechette added.
The workout program, specified by the team coaches, will focus on strength and conditioning methods. Sports psychology seminars and nutritional education programs will also be determined by the coaches. Fitness assessments used will include tests like the 70-meter shuttle, beep test and the vertical jump test.
Intern Molly Cafelle said she became involved this year so she can use her knowledge of strength and conditioning and build on her coaching skills. The chance to work with Olympic-level athletes was also an experience that interested her.
“Rugby players are all different body sizes depending on what positions they play, and a different age than the students I’m used to working with,” she added.
“The internship offers really great networking opportunities,” said Frechette. “I know last year’s student participants were offered opportunities with some of the Boston rugby teams. I think it demonstrates the quality of the work the interns were doing and the opportunities that can come out of nontraditional work outside classroom,” she added.
The program offers benefits to the rugby players as well, especially with the greater number of interns this year. “It’s a pretty huge benefit because it’s a relatively small group of athletes. They get a really high ratio of people to players,” said Frechette.
Cafelle agreed and added that the different types of expertise each intern can offer will give the players a greater variety of techniques and knowledge. Plus, she added, “I think getting to take a weekend and focus on rugby will help them in what they do.”
The rugby players will pay additional campus visits on March 23-24 and April 27-28. The students, all Kinesiology majors in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS), are seniors Caffelle, Rich Casella, Danielle Garcia and Tim Murphy and junior Steve Karagosian.