Female Coaching Conference 2017 – Report



Saturday 29th April 2017 saw the delivery of our very first Female Coaching Conference in partnership with Project 500; the World’s First Coaching Conference for Female Coaches open to all sports, all levels and all nationalities. 


Nearly 100 female coaches from 5 Countries came together at Surrey Sports park, England, to connect, share and develop to create a very unique coaching community.  Women from sports ranging from stoolball to soccer, and futsal to fencing, celebrated the achievements of women who coach, discussed the challenges women face in sport and learned from each others successes.  The day was a truly inspirational event that further embedded the need to increase the profile of, the number of and the opportunities for women who coach.


The day began with a fantastic presentation by Olympic Gold Medal winning Assistant GB Hockey Coach Karen Brown, who shared her story of the amazing achievements of the women’s squad in winning Gold at Rio last summer.  Karen emphasised the importance of planning to their success in Rio and gave us all a great insight to the level of planning the team went to in the lead up to the final against the Netherlands…“I analysed over 1000 Dutch penalties over a period of six years to know, almost instinctively what they would do.”


With insights such as how the team developed a ‘performance mindset’ and their vision, values and behaviours in the build up the Games,  Karen also shared the very funny story of how two Team GB fans dressed in GB kit, followed Head Coach Danny Kerry to the pitch to join in with the penalty shootout saga.


A recording of this presentation will be available to watch in the coming weeks.

Karen Brown – her story of winning Olympic Gold 

Following this, Aimee Knight, a 22 year old graduate Sports Therapist and one of the very few women currently working in men’s elite football in the UK, delivered a fantastic workshop around the importance of good posture.  Aimee shared with us her tips and advice on how to spot bad posture and how to correct it in order to increase performance of athletes.  “Poor posture can restrict breathing making VO2 max training pointless if you are already creating a restriction.”



Coaches also had the chance to attend Vicky Huyton’s Speed Development workshop which took place alongside Aimee’s.  Vicky addressed the key factors which affect an athletes speed and approached some of the reasons for the need of more appropriate holistic warm – ups as well as the need to teach all athletes the correct technique for efficient running.  All information about these workshops, plus more, will be available on the FCN website.



After lunch, Lois Fidler took to the stage to deliver a fascinating insight into her coaching career and all the challenges she has faced in being one of only 6 women to have achieved the top football coaching qualification UEFA Pro license.  Lois started off by stating “I am going to stand here and publicly acknowledge that I am actually quite good at my job” which was met with a big applause by all attendees.  It was a real breath of fresh air to see and hear a female coach stand proud and recognise her own achievements.



Lois Fidler – Presenting her Coaching Journey 

“There are some key takeaways that I got from the conference that I want to share with everyone including one thing that stood out for me huge.   Lois Fidler said she would “pick and choose when to step up”.   This to me was so affirming.  I am always trying to do everything and step up and prove myself and prove that I am willing and capable of everything that I am attempting to do.   I am sure many other females in the sports world feel this way as well and to hear it come from someone with that level of experience was amazing to me.  I always felt that it was just myself going through these thoughts.   From this realization I got another lightbulb moment, this is why we are here!  This is what the FCN is all about!  This is what the conference is all about!”


Amanda Miles – Conference Attendee 




Two more workshops followed as Aimee Knight taught her coaches how to evaluate mobility and correct bad mobility in athletes as Vicky discussed the benefits of taking your coaching digital with the introduction of a few coaching apps and how to develop coaching knowledge online.  For those who missed either of the workshops, or would like to develop what they learned further, all workshop presentations will be uploaded onto the FCN website in the next few days.

Aimee Knight – Mobility Workshop 

The day ended with a panel discussion with 5 coaches who have been involved with Project 500, as Wendy Russell (Hockey), Sarah Rutherford (Tennis), Debbie Peatland (Cycling), Caroline Drake (Football) and Sue Benson (Cricket) shared their experiences of working and volunteering in range of different sports.



“Vicky and the team at the Female Coaching Network have done an amazing job. To see so many Female coaches at every level, across so many sports in one place was up lifting.  Coming together in this way presented a great opportunity to establish where we are at, what we need, and how as a network of like minded individuals we can move forward, together.

This, the first ever Female Coaches Conference also highlighted for me a number of areas that should be embraced and explored by the broader coaching community. The experiences of Women in Sport are different to men – Fact. The challenges faced by female coaches are not exclusive to certain sports.  Accessibility to experience and support to progress or for reassurance is pivotal. Where to go, who to go to and most importantly, to be given a voice, stood out.  
I genuinely believe that this networking platform has so much potential.   As a coaching community needs are varied and situations often complex. However a consistent message that we are here, we are committed, we want to learn, help us get better,  put me in front of good people, and I’ll share what I know, came across loud and clear. 

Great job FCN – onto the next one!


Lois Fidler – conference attendee and presenter





A big thanks to all Project 500 staff who supported the day and to all coaches who came from far and wide to attend the event . Special thanks to Louisa Arnold, Karen Brown, Lois Fidler, Aimee Knight, James Walkington and Di Murray for making the day possible.  



Amanda Miles travelled all the way from Ontario Canada to attend the day:


“I have been lucky enough to be a part of the FCN Academy Advisory committee for a few months now.  While this is still a project in the works Vicky has amazing intentions and plans for the FCN and I am proud to see it all come together.  One of those things was the 2017 Conference with Project 500.  When I heard about this conference I initially thought it is an amazing idea and I wish we had one in Canada so I could go.  There was no way I was going to make it out there.   Then after a week of going back and fourth about it I said to myself why not.   Just jump the gun and do it.   I always tell my athletes get comfortable being uncomfortable this was my way of pushing myself to do something that made me extremely uncomfortable.


As a young female coach this one day event has created a push in myself to do better and given me confidence and inspiration to push forward on some projects I have been hesitant about.    There is nothing like getting a group of like minded individuals together to share and learn from each other.”


Over the coming weeks, more information will be added to the FCN website including all the workshop handouts and recordings of Karen and Lois’ presentations.  To continue the development and progression of all that was delivered on the day, the FCN are hosting a series of webinars which will allow attendees to dealth further into the topics addressed at the conference and keep the momentum going with the connection between all who attended.  Webinars will also be open to female coaches who did not attend and the calendar of events will be published in the coming few days on the FCN website.



“I loved that there was already plans for the sessions to be posted online and for future webinars to follow up and build on what we were learning.  I am glad they decided to film and do followup webinars for the sessions, I wish I could have been in every single workshop and learnt more.  I feel that this will happen with the resources that are going to be available.   I love it! “


Amanda Miles – Ontario, Canada




With some great feedback from all who attended, it seems that a conference in 2018 is definitely on the cards, as well plans for hosting more events in Canada and the US…so watch this space!


“I am very proud to say that the FCN has created a fantastic coaching community of women who want to support each other and learn from each other.  It was fantastic to meet so many of those who have been involved with the FCN on social media and contributed to the website.  The conference was such a positive experience and I look forward to hosting more and growing our network even more! Thank you to all who supported and attended the event!”


Vicky Huyton – FCN Founder 




“Many thanks for an excellent day – and here’s to the next one!”

Nicky Horn – Sport and Beyond

 I just wanted to say a huge Thank You to everyone for putting on such a good day yesterday.   For me the highlights were the talks from both Karen and Lois. Karens talk about her personal involvement, all the behind the scenes work and dedication to give the athletes the best training schedule possible was just brilliant. Whilst Lois really showed that even if your a bit scared to push to the next level you should really go for it!   I look forward to more Female Coaching events to come, it was just brilliant. “

Becky Scott

“I just wanted to thank you for an excellent day yesterday. It was great to be in a room with so many inspirational women.”

Sarah Wilds




For more photo’s of the day – head over to our FCN Photo Gallery CLICK HERE

Social Media Reaction:


@Ontherunhealth – “Brilliant Conference, so much inspiration as well as useful tips and stories – thank you!”


@louisecapicotto – “Thank you FCN and Project 500 for putting on such a great conference! Met many inspirational people!”


@beth_clarkson – “Thank you FCN and Project 500 for brining together so many likeminded people. I’m brimming with ideas and inspiration!”


@v02PaulaGeorge – “Thank you for a great day of learning and discovery today!”


@eharvey091996 – “What a great conference!”


@vinezy – “Thank you for all the effort and planning, feeling empowered and inspired by the speakers and content of today”


@fionaLford – “ Great to learn and be inspired”


@AmandaMiles2 – “This was an amazing event! Keep an eye out for my blog post on it!”

@wendyandsport – “Excited to meet wonderful female coaches, sharing stories and journeys”


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