Determination, dedication and ability ...
England Women's Cricket Under 19 Head Coach Salliann Briggs (@salliannbriggs) offers advice to aspiring female coaches
"The best advice I can give any aspiring coach is to seek a mentor (the more the better), who will offer a high level of support, but who will also challenge your thoughts along way."
Having someone (or a few key people) you can trust, who acts as a sounding board, helps channel your thoughts into making better decisions - so when things get tough, they are able to remind you of your good attributes when you’re sometimes seeing them as hard to find.
My coaching journey started like many other peers I know. The combination of a genuine love for the game, and a good way to earn some extra cash, seemed to make perfect sense during education and my own playing career. In 2003 while at University I qualified as a UKCC Level 2 coach and 4 years later gained my UKCC Level 3 award. In both cases I was the only female on each cohort.
Although the courses were great in building my understanding of what makes an effective coach, I gained the majority of my coaching skills on the ‘shop floor’, working with teams and players. I’ve been lucky enough to work with players of all abilities and ages, which allowed me to understand quite quickly that you’ll have more success coaching the ‘person’ - rather than the ‘Cricketer’, ‘Netballer’ or ‘Rugby player’.
Throughout my coaching journey (which I still feel I’m only just beginning), I’ve been privileged to meet a lot of great people, who have predominantly been men. Although there is a lot to be done to increase the number of female coaches, I have always believed if you are the best qualified for the job, it doesn’t matter who you are. Your journey will always continue if you’re determined, dedicated and able enough. There’s also been a case of being ‘in the right place at the right time’ of course, but what has helped me along the way is making the time to invest in people.
If I’m honest, I’ve never really seen myself as being in a minority – nor seen it as a handicap or discriminatory. I’ve always wanted to be there on merit, not as part of a quota – and I seem to have been lucky enough to have been treated that way. I’ve always had the mindset to try and leave any environment a better person than when I entered. This has given me the confidence to put myself in what are perceived to be 'challenging environments’ - knowing full-well that every challenge tends to become easier in time and with experience.
In 2009, Loughborough University gave me my first full time job in coaching - as MCCU Cricket Performance Manager and Men’s Assistant Coach. Since then my passion for development coaching has led to a number of Head Coaching roles within the England Women’s Development pathway. Having recently gained the Level 4 Elite Master Coach qualification (a two year journey!), I now split my time Head Coaching the Loughborough MCCU Women’s Cricket Team, England Women’s Under 19s and as specialist batting coach to a number of senior England Women players.
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