Working as part of an all Female Coaching Team (part 1)
This season I have had the pleasure of not only working with two very gifted and upcoming coaches, but two of my best friends also. At the start of the season I was appointed Head Coach for the University of Brighton Ladies RFC. With previous assistant coaches leaving, it was looking is it was going to be a one (wo)man job. I sat down and thought about my contacts I had and who might like to get involved. Two names imminently came to mind.
Sammi and I played at University in Plymouth together. We had been best buddies through uni and worked well together at developing a team (she was vice-captain while I was Chairman and took over my Chairman responsibility’s when I finished my final year). Though Sammi has no coaching qualifications, I have seen her lead teams and get the best out of the girls. Her playing experience also goes beyond mine and being a back (I have always played as a forward!) I knew I could learned thing or two off her about the back line. Also having been involved in a university women’s set up I knew she would know how to work with the girls and their varying abilities. Sammi travels nearly two hours on a train each week to assist with the sessions.
I have now known Mel for 6 years. She studied her degree in Sport Exercise and Physical activity, as well as her personal training qualifications, at mine and Sammis rival university, though we were close from back home. She has always had a keen interest in Strength and Conditioning so I know her knowledge and experience would be a great addition to the team. Her involvement in university teams also would be great for working with a mixed ability group. Despite working full time Mel always make time to fit a session for the girls weekly.
Some people asked, did it worry me mixed pleasure and business, would our friendships translate well into working and operating a team together. I always had no doubts, these were two people who I fully trusted and I knew would put their all in to helping the team. I also knew that if there were to be disagreements that we would handle it outside of our friendship.
It was only on Sunday after our last game of the season did I realise we were an all-female
coaching team. Maybe that’s a good thing, that their knowledge and experience was the main reason I choose them to help, and that it had taken me this long to notice how rare an all female coaching set up in our sport.
Read Part 2 next week when Lucy interviews Sammie and Mel!