Old Albanian Saints captain Katie Jewell is relishing the challenge of the transition to coaching the men's teams at Kilburn Cosmos.
Jewell said: "I like the balance I have with coaching and playing as both offer me something completely different. For some people rugby’s very intuitive, it switches the brain off. When coaching, I am constantly thinking, always analysing. In that way they’re very different but it’s the same game and there’s a close relationship between the two."
As a player, it was at Saracens where Jewell achieved her biggest accolades in the women’s game. Playing both as a loose head prop and hooker, she was part of the Saracens squad that won the women’s Premiership back to back in both 2005-6 and 2006-7.
The patent attorney said: "I was really lucky during the time I was playing for Saracens as they were pretty much the top club. We had players like Claire Frost, Karen Andrew, Leslie Cripps as well as internationals from all over the world training and playing and really pushing for honours, cups and league wins. It was a really great time to be involved with the club."
After such highs, Jewell was forced into over five years on the sidelines through injury and time out needed to complete her professional qualifications. Unable to play and with professional commitments to uphold, Jewell decided to experience the other side by becoming a coach; joining the coaching staff at Kilburn Cosmos.
She said: "I think what coaching gave me was the opportunity to stay involved in rugby and to pass on a lot of what I had learned to develop other players. It mitigated the fact that I wasn’t playing but it is a different animal, it ticks different boxes."
Jewell later signed up to the QBE Coaching Club, which provides an opportunity for people to get involved in rugby coaching at grassroots level.
She said: "Coaching for me isn’t just about player development, it’s about individual development and it’s about exchanging ideas.
"What I like about the QBE Coaching Club is that it gives you a chance to meet other coaches and to learn new approaches to coaching. Being able to get external input and feedback on the way I coach has been an invaluable experience for my own development."
Jewell has created a formidable partnership at Kilburn Cosmos with Andy Hutt and following last season’s promotion from Herts Middlesex Two division, the team finished third place in Herts Middlesex One.
"What’s great about coaching at Cosmos now is our head coach Andy who has a great vision for the club. He’s very supportive, very encouraging, lets me get as involved as my time schedule allows me to be. I’d like to think we’re on the same wavelength in terms of how we see the matches and see the team developing."