This year I became a statistic…

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This year I became a statistic. I am now one of those females not actively involved in sport, as an athlete and as a coach. My reason? I just can’t afford to do either. Due to a decrease income, swimming is not an option right now. I simply cannot afford what it costs to train. As a rugby coach I cannot afford to spend the time it takes and volunteer or be paid what a club cut me a cheque for last year. I spent the equivalent to a part time job coaching a program and its not feasible. 

 

We keep hearing about why women quit coaching and competing. What I have found talking to friends, relatives and other athletes is it comes down to three main reasons:

  1. cannot afford the time or money
  2. injured
  3. they just are tired of dealing with the politics, nonsense and drama.  

Sports are expensive, especially competitive routes where coaching is involved. Add in facilities, equipment, travel etc.… it adds up. If you are a higher-level athlete add in gym time, trainers, recovery costs, entry fees. Depending on when training times are sometimes it conflicts with work and family time. Volunteer coaching also gets expensive. Travel, and time add up. Coaching courses, insurance, memberships – it also adds up quickly.

 

As we get older and remain competitive injuries happen. Often once injured as amateur athletes’ affordability of rehab and return to sport comes into play. Many do not have access to rehabilitation and medical resources to successfully return to competition. I suppose that injury ends up becoming a subsection of affordability.

 

Politics is an ongoing issue. I myself was denied a coaching job simply because I am female, I was paid a $1000.00 honorarium last year – which is significantly lower than the male coach that I replaced. All over rugby male coaches continue to be paid more – including those less experienced with a lower success record. Women’s programs are still taking a backseat to men’s programs no matter how successful they are. In rugby all of the Men’s and women’s programs receive funding from World Rugby based on the performance of their national Men’s teams… I am morally having an issue coaching a sport that I love so much yet is so male orientated. 

 

I’m not sure how to “fix” these issues right now. Eventually I will go back swimming however then club I go with will probably have to change as I need something closer to home and work. As far as coaching a team at a club in an official sense – my heart simply is not in it anymore. Its tired of always defending myself, even though I improve the teams I coach, their scrums become strong and safe, we retain players… its still not enough and its obviously not worth being compensated fairly for. Women have come so far and yet somethings just remain the same. 

 

 


 

Bio: Tina Prescott is a Level 2 Certified NCCP and Rugby Canada Coach from Carstairs, Alberta Canada.  She was the Head Coach to the Calgary Mavericks U – 18 Ladies Rugby and Assistant Coach to Calgary Knights Rugby Football Club Sr. Mens Team

In high school and college, Tina took part in lots of sports including swimming and track&field (sprinter) with her most success in rugby having played senior women’s rugby for 13 years and being forced to retire due to injury.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. What a tragedy this is. It rings true and is something I am battling with right now in relation to coaching at a triathlon club with an expanding membership (500+) and associated strategic management problems. As the ‘Head’ Coach my role is confused, confusing and completely powerless. Whilst I am paid an hourly rate for both administration tasks and coaching, the scale of the role is completely underestimated and the micro-managing that becomes a part of my administration detracts completely from the task in hand. Our team of coaches are enthusiastic and paid if they choose to submit an invoice but have no professional responsibility associated with this system. Take for example an email I received last night from a level 3 coach, ‘the swim sessions all seem to have the swimmers exiting the pool…’ the coach didn’t consider this safe in the pool environment he was coaching in. The session had been take/adapted from a session planned for a different pool. What should he do? He was asking me when I wasn’t at the session (it was my first wedding anniversary weekend and we were visiting an elderly relative in hospital en route to home), 20 minutes before the session started. My answer, “as a Level 3 coach of that session, you ought to adapt it to reflect what you consider to be safe and suitable for your athletes”. I feel your pain and most probably will become a statistic this year too.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing you story. I totally feel you – I’m coaching rugby myself over here in Switzerland, but needed to take the (tough) decision of stepping down for the end of this season. It is a huge passion, hence we invest so much time into giving our best as coaches – preparing sessions, running the sessions, checking in on players who are not doing great, extras with motivated players who want to live their ambitions… It eats up so much time, which I just can’t find next to trying to earn a living. Yet can’t imagine coaching “half-heartedly”.
    I hope for you and all other women in similar situations, that we do manage to find our passion again, be it in coaching or in going back to a sport that may remind us on why we love this so much to start with. All the best and stay strong.

  3. Just wanted to say solidarity. It’s so hard, for so many reasons. Women in professional sport, in both the coaching and playing realm, are still in the early stage of the curve.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m in the same position at the moment. I love the sport and the athletes I coach. But I’m tired of having to justify why I’m doing what I’m doing to far less experienced and unqualified male coaches. I’m a really good coach. I know I am from feedback from my mentors, athletes and their parents. Sadly my club can’t see what they’ve lost and only now I’ve been gone almost a whole season are they starting to ask why things aren’t working the way they used to. It’s because I’m not there behind the scenes holding everything together without complaining about it! I don’t want to be a statistic. I find so much joy in coaching and have been mentoring coaches at other clubs to stay ‘in the game’. But I’m so tired of having to battle so much harder than my male counterparts. My mental health was suffering. Now I’ve stepped back, I’m happier and healthier…but missing coaching so so much

  5. Thank you for posting and I feel the comments as deeply as you do. With me it’s speed skating – kids that I have trained this season have won national competitions and made world cup teams but to no avail. Hang in there – sending love

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