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:
- cannot afford the time or money
- 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.