Last night I was happily scrolling through my social media pages, when up popped a shared article on one of the coaching groups. It was written for a page called Football Scoop and shared some invaluable information from an article in Dallas Moms Blog:
“…author Rachel Randolph points out 10 things that people can do to provide a little encouragement to the wives of coaches during the season. They include things as simple as thanking her, and learning her name, to being considerate of their family time, and encouraging their marriage, as well as a number of other great suggestions” – Football Scoop Sept 2016
After wondering whether this was a bit of comedy writing, I headed on over to the article. No it really did state “Forgive her for not knowing the game”….okay fun over this just got under my skin. I have shared the pages of both articles below, and though I am aware that every coach is different and everyone has an opinion – this is mine.
I am a married coach, I work approximately 65 hours per week over seven days and only 10 hours is given over to something other than football. I have a husband, who is patient and basically runs the house these days – but we are a couple, a partnership, we do not have roles and jobs based on our gender. Whoever is home first cooks, whoever is there puts the washing in, and whoever is there cleans the house. As a woman on a football field I am already fighting those stereotypes of ‘she knows less than me’, I do not really want to read an article that ‘forgives’ those females on the field for knowing nothing, and I definitely do not want to have marriage advice from a players family. I am on there to do a job.
My husband attends all of my games, he helps out with practise (he is actually a massage therapist who helps the players heal), and he has sat in the car for 8 hours waiting for me to complete open days, training courses and national trials. Would I feel comfortable with people thanking him for ‘allowing’ me to do what I do? Most definitely not, I would feel that this would undermine me as a person and as a coach.
So even though one of these articles is written from the point of view of a coaches’ wife, the sweeping generalisations of every coach on that field being male and every spouse of that coach is running themselves ragged, rings a little alarm bell. Yes, I will accept that in the main most football coaches are male at every level and in every country. But, not them all. There are women out there who are fighting the stereotypes every day, those who are out there coaching day in day out, those who are committed to the game regardless of gender. I am one of those. I have been called a trailblazer, an inspiration and a role model – all of which I am immensely grateful for, but what I really want is to be known as a damn good coach, a coach that respects the game and is there to make the players the best that they can be regardless of their age, size or gender.
Articles like this one are banded around too often, and may be perpetuating the coach is a man idealism in this sport. We do not need to de-gender the role, (I am a woman, nothing about that will change), and we need to be aware of the changing atmosphere in sport, and the increasing spotlights on females in a sporting context. We are a long way from an equal playing field but we are walking in the right direction.
Bio: Sarah Jauncey is an American Football Coach from the UK and wear many hats within the sport. She is a Coach Developer for BAFA, Board Member of BAFCA, a Coach Educator and the only female coach in the GB Lions set up. To find out more about Sarah, read our exclusive interview with her HERE