Alex Reid: Changing the way referees approach fitness   - Ruck

Alex Reid: Changing the way referees approach fitness  

The world class match official fitness series 

Along with our partners at ACME Whistles we spoke to the RFU’s Match Officials Strength & Conditioning Coach, Alex Reid, whose career has taken her from Harrods to Spurs to the RFU. Alex is passionate about high-performance sport. 

In this interview, the second in a series, Alex tells us how she made the transition from football to rugby. 

“Unfortunately, I got unwell. I was diagnosed with cancer, so I had to leave the role I had at the time at Tottenham Hotspur.  

“It was a seven day a week job then. When I left Tottenham, they replaced me with three people! Back then, you did the rehabilitation, the conditioning, the first team sessions, the reserve sessions, the whole squad! 

“They were very supportive when I was unwell. But I wanted to have a family and I wanted to balance my life. I was only 33. When you go through things like that, you re-evaluate life. 

“Then I had my first child, who’s now 14. And I started my own business, Perform Fitness S&C Ltd. I had a bit of time at the Lawn Tennis Association, but I preferred team sports. I like to feel part of a team and that team cohesion. 

“So, when I was just pregnant with Isla, the doctor that I used to work with at Fulham FC, Simon Kemp, who’s now the head of medical services at the RFU, told Ed Morrison, who was in charge of the referees at the time, about me.  

“It was a part time role for the match officials. 

“Just after our daughter was born, Simon asked me to come in, to tell him what I thought.  

“Ed interviewed me along with a number of other people and said ‘we want the referees to be able to run like footballers. We need them to cover distance, make decisions whilst under fatigue, be conditioned, be capable, and have more presence on the pitch’. 

“He asked, with my background in football, if I could do that?  

“I was self-employed and really keen to get back in the workplace and back into high-performance sport, so I was in. 

“That was back in 2009. A lot of the guys that we’re working with now were just starting out in their careers then.” 

In the next feature, Alex discusses the new professional approach to the fitness of referees.  

To find out more about refereeing and get your first referee’s whistle, visit