Coaching in the UK

sports coach UK recommendations to break down barriers

Fri, 25 Jul 2014

sports coach UK welcomes the importance placed on coaching in the Women and Sport Report by the Culture Media and Sport Committee. The organisation has highlighted recommendations to break down barriers to female coaches. The recommendations - made following research by sports coach UK that identified individual, wider sport and societal barriers to females accessing coach education - include:

  • Make coaching qualifications more accessible by delivering courses in alternative formats, including in smaller blocks of learning and in the evenings.
  • Provide female coaches with more information prior to starting a qualification. This should include details of what the qualification involves, what is required of them and who is likely to be there.
  • Provide mentoring support for female coaches undertaking coaching qualifications.
  • Develop role models to encourage more women to become qualified coaches.
  • Review the extent to which coach education matches the learning styles of women.

England Athletics is an example of a governing body of sport that has moved to address these barriers, producing a film on courses available to get involved in coaching in line with recommendation to provide information prior to starting a qualification.

Project 500, referenced in the Report, is a two-year project developed by sports coach UK and the seven county sport partnerships in the south east to increase the number of female coaches.

The project - which is endorsed by a range of governing bodies of sport including the Rugby Football Union, The Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board - aims to:

  • increase the number of active female coaches
  • increase the number of females accessing high-quality coaching
  • create an ethos of self-improvement through learning and mentoring
  • create local and national networks for like-minded female coaches to share ideas, practice and experiences.

The creation of networks can help increase the confidence of female coaches in what is still a male-dominated world.

The first year of Project 500, which demonstrates sports coach UK’s commitment to working with others in a co-ordinated approach, saw 264 female coaches receive support such as formal and informal training, and mentoring.

Bev Smith, sports coach UK Board member and chair of the Coaching Committee said: “We know that only 31% of the coaching workforce is female, and only 17% of qualified coaches are female. This imbalance need to be addressed. Initiatives such as Project 500 and the recommendations made by sports coach UK’s research are helping to do this.”

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