I was asked to be filmed on Wednesday for Sky Sports News as my role of Inclusion Lead at sports coach UK, and also sports coach UK’s celebration of International Women’s Day .....errrrrrr, ok........I don’t even like my photo being taken but let’s do it! In the back of my head I heard “do one thing every day that scares you.....” – this would have lasted me a good couple of weeks but it is a part of my job that is really passionate to me: How do more women get into coaching?
According to the sports coach UK research for every 3 coaches, only 1 coach is a women. An even more startling figure is that less than 1:5 qualified coaches are women. Why is that? The research in this area shows that women tend to coach in informal sessions, or coaching children – either way, qualifications are down at the bottom of the list of ‘things to spend time and money on.’ As I mention below, qualifications are great for development but shouldn’t stop you from giving coaching a try. So what is stopping you?
Only ‘sporty girls’ can coach
Not true at all. Sporty girls play sport. Women have a very different set of life, leadership and organisational skills that can transfer perfectly into coaching. Did somebody mention the ability to multi-task??! The business world is recognising that women possess skills that are incredibly important at their Exec and Board level and are actively promoting more women into the previously male-dominated oak panelled board rooms. Likewise in sport. The Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation (WSFF) have a programme called ‘Trophy Women’ which advocates the importance of women in high profile positions in sport, whether that is coaching or sports development. Let’s face it, the more women there are on the boards or management level in sport, the more chance we have of getting our voices heard at participation level, as more ‘women-friendly’ programmes are likely to be developed.
You have to be qualified to be a coach
I am not going to advocate that coaches shouldn’t be qualified but it depends on what you want to do in coaching. If you just want to go along either to your kids’ sports session on a weekend or evening, or join in some informal ‘turn up and play’ session at your local community/sports hall then there is nothing stopping you in offering to help out the coach. Ask them, they would be delighted I can assure you. Take your time, feel your feet. If you want to, then start getting more involved and look to develop your coaching skills, that is the time to look at doing some workshops or a qualification. Your coach will be able to point you in the right direction. Take it at your speed and don’t over commit yourself.....which brings me onto the next point...
I have no spare time to coach
It is no myth that women these days are pretty time-poor. However, if you are keen to go along and play sport once or twice a week, or stand on the sidelines and watch your child play sport, you have time to coach. Coaching, if done properly, can be just as active as taking part in a session yourself, while you are developing another side of your brain! Everyone’s a winner!
I don’t know where to start
Speak to your coach or leader at your next session. Offer to help out. If it is not for you, tell them. You’ve lost nothing! Speak to your child’s coach and offer to help out. The same applies....just give it a try. Sports coach UK also have some great information about getting into coaching which will spell out what coaching is about and what would be expected of you. Go onto our website and click on the ‘I want to coach’section. Also, have a look at the information we have put together based on the research we have done with the WSFF. We have information on what women want from sport, what women want from coaching and how women get into coaching, to name but a few things.