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Four ways coaches can help more women get active

As a coach you may have been inspired by the #ThisGirlCan celebration of active women. Sports Coach UK wants to support the campaign by providing coaches with practical ideas to help women overcome the fear of judgement, which stops them from joining in.

Here are four essential ways coaches can get more women active.

  1. Create a welcoming environment. Creating a welcoming environment for women is just as important as the technical coaching and activities you are delivering. It’s not just what you do, but how you do it that can make the difference and keep women coming back week after week. Creating a warm, friendly and welcoming coaching environment includes: your body language, the tone and style of your coaching and all other types of communication that surrounds your session, including online. Part of being welcoming means remembering the ‘human factor’ and making women feel good about themselves in your session. 
  2. Understand the reasons why women come to your session. It is important to know what motivates women to take part in sport and physical activity. Internal motivations are driven by an interest in, or enjoyment of, the activity, rather than relying on external recognition or reward. Examples might include feeling good, developing skills, having fun and being with friends and family. Meeting internal motivations can help build up the habit of taking part on a regular basis. 
  3. Be aware of the fear of being judged. Fear of being judged is, for many women, an all-encompassing concern. It can also pass as another but more ‘acceptable’ barrier to joining in, like not having the time. The fear of judgement can come from many different people, including family and friends, and will affect self-confidence and attitude towards sport and physical activity.
  4. Build women’s confidence.  Low confidence can mean women in your session might be unwilling to try new things and fully engage. Being able to recognise success helps build confidence. Achievements include all the small steps towards bigger successes and improvements. Make sure you celebrate them all.

Liz Burkinshaw, Development Lead Officer, Sports Coach UK

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