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Coach Stories

I had to communicate with my coach via Whattsap as she couldn’t get an...

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SOURCE: Getty Images  This time last year, Chris McAlister was ranked 7th in the UK for the 400m hurdles. Competing at the World Championships in Doha was what he describes as a “pipe dream”. But just 12 months later, Chris is reflecting on his best-ever season in which he knocked more...

Emma Hayes and Me

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  Eni Aluko is embedded in English footballing history.  Not only has she played through the incredible development of women's football, from the £40 a day pay from the FA to play for England, experiencing 70,000 fans at Wembley representing Team GB during her home Olympics, she has been a...

“Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle...

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Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don't settle for them. These past two years have been a whirlwind. Looking back on where the women’s game overall not in regards to one sport has changed is absolutely amazing, but it’s one small step to a...

BOOK REVIEW: The Girls by Abigail Pesta

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  Review: Vicky Huyton  I have to admit to not looking forward to reading this book. Having followed the story on the news from a far, I was already shocked to the bones as to the evil that these girls had gone through. Having cried at the TV watching Jamie Dantzscher...

The Ups and Downs Coaching As a Female… (Part 2)

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  Reflecting on yesterday’s problematic football training with the U15 boys, I remembered a phrase that I have heard many times. ‘Take your opportunities when they come.’ Clearly, I didn’t take my opportunity to lead the boys well, due to language, lack of preparation, perhaps a lack of authority, but also...

The ups and downs of coaching as a female… (Part 1)

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    Yesterday was horrid. I knew I wasn’t going to quit – that would be rash and unnecessary, but there was a reaction inside of me that was a mixture of despondency, disappointment, failure and frustration. My own limitations had a lot to do with it, maybe my character as...

Why I started the FCN…

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For me, my journey as the founder of the FCN started back in 2010 when I took on an athlete called Ollie Hopkins. Ollie was 16 and desperately wanted to compete at English Schools (the top National track event for high school kids in England).  Ollie was a 400m...

My First Experience Cornering for England

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    June saw the School boys and girls of England, Scotland and Wales battle it out in the annual Three Nations tournament. This was my first experience cornering for England after having to turn down the opportunity last year due to work commitments. It was a first for many of...

Why having a female coach has been the best thing about my journey…

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  Know that you are a champion. Believe that you are a champion” This quote may seem comparable to a Muhammad Ali precept; a motto he would take with him into the boxing ring, ready to fight and make history. It's something my coach said to me just before I was...

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...

Golden Girl; female boxing team from Metropolitan Police attends a Amateur Swedish Tournament

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    This year I attended the annual Golden Girl Amateur Boxing Tournament in Borås, Sweden, with a small female team from the Metropolitan Police.   We secured funding from the club for two coaches and three boxers however one of the girls turned the trip down due to not wanting to be...

The Life of a Running Coach in the UK

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  Verity is an experienced and independent running coach having completed her England Athletics Coach in Running Fitness qualification in 2013.  Prior to launching RunVerity in 2014 Verity has 20 years of teaching experience working in a wide variety of settings (Portsmouth Educational Psychology Department, South Downs College & Barton...

What it’s like being coached by your Girlfriend…

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  Rachel Bower - a boxing coach from the UK and a long standing FCN blogger has often written about her experience as a female boxing coach including an honest blog about her experience of coaching her boyfriend.  This time, its the turn of her boyfriend to share with us...

The Shannon Miller Case and Mis-treatement by UMD Continues with Resignation of the Last...

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    For those of you who have been following the Shannon Miller case over the last couple of years, you will not be surprised by the following letter we are publishing.  The letter below is the resignation of the last of the female coaches who were once employed at the...

An Open Letter About Female Coaches ; by Pau Gasol

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    This article, written by Pau Gasol - a professional basketball for the San Antonio Spurs (NBA Team), highlights some of the fundamental views and thoughts by those athletes who have experienced the 'rare' world of being coached by a woman in elite sport.  Paul, who is also a 6...

Coaching close to home; What it’s like to coach my boyfriend…

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  I have started asking for feedback on my coaching so I can develop my sessions and learn more about the learning preferences of my boxers. As I coach my boyfriend I often ask him, but more specifically I enquired what it’s like to be coached by his girlfriend. Before...

“My Experience Coaching for Sport Relief” ~ Rachel help raise £38 million in BBC...

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A month ago I was approached by England Boxing and asked if I would take over the training of one of the celebrities for a Sport Relief boxing match. They were taking a risk by getting six celebrities fight ready in only three months to box on television where...

Shannon Miller wins landmark case!

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  An exuberant Shannon Miller emerged from the front doors of the federal courthouse in Duluth on Thursday afternoon, pumping her fists amid cheers and celebratory music from a crowd of supporters. Minutes earlier, jurors awarded the former University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey coach $3.74 million after an eight-day trial...

This is a BIG deal! Australian female baseball coach makes sporting history

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    A few weeks ago an Australian coach quietly made history. Amongst all the noise and the hype of the AFLW, the winter Olympics, W-League finals and every other sporting code the feat of this woman slipped through the cracks. BLINK You just missed it. On a stormy Sunday afternoon in a controversial game...

This Girl Can Box

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      At the end of last year I attended an all-female boxing show ‘This Girl Can Box!’ at Tottenham Community Sports Centre, London. The event, in its second year, is a showcase of female amateur boxing with bouts ranging from junior skills to Elite Area Title matches with boxers travelling...

British Coach Series – Paula Dunn

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    Biography Paula was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire.  She is one of six children and has been a member of Trafford Athletics Club since the age of 11.  The sprinter made rapid progress as an athlete in 1986, improving her PB from 11.67 to 11.25 winning both the AAA's and...

British Coach Series – Shona Malcolm OBE

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    Biography  Shona started coaching athletics over 30 years ago, coaching mainstream at Central Athletics Club and started coaching athletes with disabilities 25 years ago when asked to coach athletics within multi-ports session.  She then went on to coach the Central Disability Regional squad and was key to the development of...

British Coach Series – Lorna Boothe

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    Biography  Lorna Boothe is a double Olympian and Commonwealth Gold and Silver Medallist in 100m hurdles and was also British record holder and Commonwealth Games record holder in this event.  She has extensive coaching and management experience within the sports sector.  She was a British Athletics Team Manager for 9...

British Coach Series – Laura Turner-Alleyne

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      Biography  An Olympian with an enviable wealth of experience in international Athletics and a diverse educational background, Laura is a coach with a broad knowledge base.  Laura has accused over 15 years experience in Athletics from grass-roots through to her senior athletic career as a GB International sprinter and medallist...

British Coach Series – Coral Nourrice

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      Biography Coral, a former athlete herself has been a coach since 2004 whilst working in various primary schools throughout Newham, which led her to receive the London Regional Coach of the Year Award in 2014. Now she coaches an inclusive group of various ages at Newham and Essex Beagles AC, including...

British Coach Series – Clova Court

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    Biography As an athlete, Clova competed for Great Britain at several major championships during the 1990's.  Her first individual international vest was at the age of 30.  She finished 16th at the 1991 World Championships with a personal best score of 6022 points, ninth at the 1992 European Indoor Championships,...

COACHES ACROSS CONTINENTS: Nora Dooley writes about delivering ASK for Choice programs in Colombia

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    December 15th, 2017. Nora Dooley writes about delivering ASK for Choice programs in Colombia with Community Partner Inder Alcaldía de Medellín, alongside Corporate Partners Nike, Postobón, GIZ, and Groupo Internacional de Paz, to close out a strong year working across the country for the rights of women and girls.   I treasure...

Interview with Vera Pauw on her new role in the US Women’s National Soccer...

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  Vera Pauw is a Dutch born soccer coach who has had an incredible career and continues to make her mark on women's football around the World.  Vera has set a number of unique records in Dutch football as she was the first woman who played abroad, the first woman...

76 year Old Anna Botha win Track & Fields most prestigious Coaching Award

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  Congratulations to the brilliant Anna Botha for picking up track and field's most prestigious Coaching Award - IAAF Coaching Achievement of the Year Award. Anna Botha, a name that not many in the sporting World had heard of before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, made a name for herself...

Coaches Across Continents: Heather Jackson blogs from Nagpur, India about our groundbreaking partnership with...

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  November 14th 2017. CAC Global Citizen and Harvard Alum Heather ‘Action’ Jackson blogs from Nagpur, India about our groundbreaking partnership with Slum Soccer.    I’ve been so lucky as a CAC Global Citizen in so many ways, including having the opportunity to work with longtime partner Slum Soccer here in Bokhara,...

Coaches Across Continents; Heather ‘Action’ Jackson writes about her experience in Punjab, India

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    CAC Global Citizen and Harvard alum Heather ‘Action’ Jackson writes about her first CAC experience with YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India.   This is my first trip with Coaches Across Continents and the first week has already delivered as promised; thought provoking, inspiring, fulfilling, rewarding, fun, and full of firsts...

How Serena Williams will continue to serve up top level tennis as a mother…

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Jo Ward - international tennis coach and FCN interviewee wrote an article for the London Newspaper Metro about her thoughts on Serena Williams return to Tennis greatness...   SERENA WILLIAMS revealed her latest and greatest trophy to the world in September 2017 — her daughter Alexis Olympia. But the holder of...

Battle of the Badges – Putting on a show with the FDNY; Metropolitan Police...

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  Last Friday saw the Metropolitan Police host their annual dinner show and this year our opponents flew across the pond from the Big Apple.  The Boys (and Girl) in Blue boxed the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) in what proved to be a fairly matched, competitive dual with...

Coaches Across Continents: Nora visits Ireland to launch ASK for Choice

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  Nora Dooley, CAC Gender Strategist, writes about the launch of our ASK for Choice partnership with Sports Against Racism Ireland (SARI).   I first visited Ireland while studying abroad in Dublin during college. I lived there for 5 months, went to class, traveled and spent time with extended family members –...

Coaches Across Continents: Emily Kruger, writes about her on-field experience working with Uni Papua...

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  Self-Directed Learning Educator for Coaches Across Continents, Emily Kruger, writes about her on-field experience working with Uni Papua in Sorong, Indonesia.    " Now that CAC has existed for almost a decade, we have a handful of implementing partners who have been with us for many years. A few weeks with these...

Coaches Across Continents: Meet Adrienne and Jocelyn

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ASK For Choice is the CAC’s female empowerment initiative which will enhance personal and community responsibility and produce locally owned and relevant gender equity initiatives. The FCN is supporting this initiative and bringing you the stories of some of the incredible women involved in this project.  To find out more CLICK...

A GREAT weekend for female coaches worldwide!

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The summer months if your in the Northern Hemisphere, or the winter months if you are in the Southern Hemisphere of 2017 are hotting up to be one non-Olympic year to remember!  With World Championships in Track and Field, Diving, Swimming, Women's Rugby, Women's Cricket, Badminton, the Triathlon World...

My Experience of a Major Championship: Haringey Box Cup

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  Haringey Box Cup is the biggest open boxing tournament in Europe with over 500 boxers from across the world taking part.  Bouts are fought over three days in five rings, with the boxers striving for a gold medal and clubs battling it out to win the coveted cup. It's...

“He took it from me, looked past me to our head coach standing behind...

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This year was my first year as a high school assistant track coach for a boys program in Des Moines, Iowa. I am the only female on staff. I had an incredibly positive first year experience overall an not once did I have an athlete or another coach on...

Celebrating Pat Summitt

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  One year ago today, we said good-bye to one of sports most incredible women, Pat Summitt. Patricia Sue Summitt, born 14th June 1952 in Clarksville Tennessee, passed away from Alzheimers on 28th June 2016.  She was the Head Coach of the Lady Vols Basketball Team aged only 21 and won...

Today my friend and colleague Sue Parker, head coach of Harvard Rugby was fired...

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  Today my friend and colleague Sue Parker, head coach of Harvard Rugby was fired from her position. After 3 years of running a flawless program, and fighting for equality the athletic department's AD Bob Scalise decided he had enough of strong women. They dedicated a 3 paragraph release in a display...

3 of the Biggest U.S. Female Coaching Stories of 2017 so far…

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  Women in sports are fighting for equality in various ways, and coaching is no exception The introduction of Title IX increased opportunities for female athletes in the United States for example, but also resulted in decreasing numbers of female coaches in different sports, the New York Times reports. Nevertheless,...

Women’s Basketball Hall Of Fame 2017; Exclusive Video interview with Chris Dailey

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  The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame honors men and women who have contributed to the sport of women's basketball. The Hall of Fame opened in 1999 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.  Knoxville is known for having a large women's basketball following as well as being the home of the University of...

Sheryl Swoopes headlines the Women’s Basketball Hall Of Fame Inductees & fights back tears...

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  Sheryl Swoopes fought back tears as she read a poem to her late mother while accepting induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player was part of a Hall of Fame class that also included longtime official Sally Bell,...

Women in Amateur Boxing: Referee Hilary Lissenden

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  One of the things I want to do as part of these blog posts is focus on some of the women who make a difference in Amateur Boxing in the UK. I'll start with Hilary Lissenden, a National level referee. She found the sport by walking into a boxing...

The Story of Marielle Benitez

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  Originally Published by: Cedelf P. Tupas  Former women’s national football team skipper Marielle Benitez wears many hats. On this day, she’s at the Philippine Football Federation office as a coach, evaluating a recent international campaign where her squad achieved a silver-medal finish. On some days, she’s on the campus of the Philippine Women’s University,...

Q&A With Rachel Adkins

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  Originally published: indeonline.com   Rachel Adkins’ first chance to be a head coach has turned out to be a good one. The Massillon girls track coach has led the Tigers to several impressive showings at some big meets this year, including a third-place finish at the Stark County Championships and district meet...

The Rise of Women Coaching Men (part 4)

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  What’s being done? Former and current female coaches hope their experiences give hope to girls and other women who have similar aspirations. There are also countless organizations and groups that promote women in athletics, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, Alliance of Women’s Coaches and Women Leaders in College Sports.   “We have evidence that not only...

The Rise of Women Coaching Men (part 3)

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Why coach the other sex? Julie Bell was an athlete growing up. She participated in basketball, swimming, and track and field at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn. It wasn’t until her two eldest sons, Christopher and Eric, started playing youth soccer that Bell began seriously studying the game. She’d watch...

The Rise of Women Coaching Men (part 2)

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Trailblazers Currently, there are no female head coaches of men’s professional sports teams in the United States, though in recent years, women have been entering previously uncharted territory as assistant coaches.   Becky Hammon was hired by the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) as an assistant coach in 2014, becoming the first full-time female assistant...

Celebrating the Creation of the AFL W with a Song

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  It’s been a long tough journey to the creation of the AFL W, which began back in 2010 when the Australian Football League commissioned a report into the state of women’s football around the country.    Finally a step forward in 2013, saw an exhibition match between two newly created...

The Rise of Women Coaching Men (part 1)

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  Natalie Randolph sat inside Ben's Next Door on U Street in Washington, D.C. Like most of the patrons at the bar, she was attentively watching the National Football League games on the TV screens. A conversation struck up between her and a man seated nearby. Then the inquisition began.   “Wait, you...

Support For Shannon; Summary of the final part of the report – prospects for...

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The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Support For Shannon; Summary of Part 7; Evidence of Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

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    The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Showing the ropes to The Thin Blue Line; My Experience Leading a Team of...

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  The Lafone Cup is the annual Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Amateur Boxing Championship.  London’s police officers are split into five areas who battle it out for the famous trophy and the honour of telling their colleagues they won ‘The Lafone’, which has been running for over a hundred years....

Support for Shannon; Summary of Part 6 – Were male and female athletes equally...

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The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Support for Shannon; Summary of Part 5 – Model practice of student-athlete complaints.

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The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Support for Shannon; Summary of Part 4 – The use of student- athlete interviews

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  The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Support for Shannon; Summary of Part 3; Player adjustments between levels of competition and...

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  The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Support for Shannon; Summary of Part 2; How do athletic programs normally deal with...

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  The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University of...

Support for Shannon; Summary of Part 1 – A historical Background of Title IX

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  The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

Support For Shannon Miller; Meet the Author of the ‘Expert Report’ into the lawsuit...

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  The following are excerpts, quotes and summaries from the ‘Expert Report’ created by Donna A. Lopiano PH.D, which has been created to independently look at all of the evidence provided in the case of:  Shannon Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles v The board of Regents of The University...

A song to celebrate the Aussie Football Rules Women’s League; by Merle Brown

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  I wanted to celebrate the guts, spirit and determination of women playing Aussie Rules. I wanted to name the discrimination that said that: “girls can’t” – play football, kick goals, run fast, tackle hard. I wanted women and girls to have something of their own to sing that says...

The Sweet Science; my journey as a boxing coach in England

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  As this is my first blog for the Female Coaching Network (well, in fact ever – so please bear with me) I thought I would introduce myself and set the scene for my posts so you can follow my coaching journey. I was a late comer to boxing starting in...

The Inspirational Story of Women in Motorsport (part 2)

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  Let’s take a look at some inspirational women working in motorsports today:   Ruth Buscome     Ruth is the Senior Strategy Engineer with Sauber’s F1 team, having studied Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering at Cambridge University. Ruth’s previous roles include work with Haas and Ferrari. She’s at the very top of her game, influencing big...

The Inspirational Story of Women in Motorsport (part 1)

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  Gradually, motorsport is shrugging off its overly masculine image, and more and more women are becoming involved in this sport that demands intelligence, perseverance and lightning-fast reactions. Read on, as we explore the history, growing role, and key achievements of women leading the pack in this most intense of sports.   A...

How I fell in love with coaching again; A letter to myself…

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  You are 26, playing good rugby, and have your sights on moving up. You are also coaching high school and a provincial rep team. You will become injured. Injured to the extent that the sports doc is not sure that you will ever walk properly again. Your playing career...

Kelly Sotherton shares her experience of becoming a coach after a successful career as...

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  With the recent European Athletics Indoors Championships hosted in Belgrade last week now over,  the FCN’s attention turns to the lack of female coaches present at the games.  Whilst as always, the number of female athletes matching the male competitors is even, the lack of women as team managers...

Standing Tall Has Nothing To Do With Height…

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    It’s pretty bloody hard being 5 ft 1 and looking young, working in the male dominated sports world and trying to make a name for myself. Yes I get told, ‘oh but when you’re in your 40’s you will love it, people will think you look younger’ but no, I won’t. Right...

“Listen To Your Professor Just Once Please!”

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  If I don't set the "Do Not Disturb" function on my iPhone when I go to bed it'll wake me up at least a half dozen times in the middle of the night. It's why I can answer most general sports trivia questions and why I am more in...

I find myself obliged to do my part to be the change maker my...

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  The Women’s March on Washington and indeed around the world was inspiring, it was a show of solidarity to and for all Women on Earth that if we can come together and place our common interests first there is nothing we cannot achieve!  A true reflection of the sad...

CONFESSIONS OF A RETIRED ATHLETE; My transition from playing to coaching

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  As a professional sports person, it is often easy to not engage in thinking about what you are going to do when you retire. For most of us, it is not a nice thought! For cricketers, we are very lucky in having the support of the Professional Cricketers Association...

How we have turned our coaching organisation in the middle east from a 2...

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    From the onset of coaching, as a girl / woman you always feel outnumbered by your male colleagues, you always feel you are the token girl and along the way you are literally sidelined when it comes to playing time both literally and figuratively.   Women coaches have come a long...

Q&A With Lydia Greenway

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Lydia Greenway is a retired English cricketer with four Ashes wins and two World Cups to her name.  Having retired this summer, Lydia made her England debut in the first Women’s Ashes Test of the 2003 tour to Australia and went on to represent her country a further 224 times, scoring...

My Coaching Journey from Cardiff to the UAE

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  My United Arab Emirates story begins in Cardiff, after I graduated with an Under Grad Honours degree in Sports Coaching in 2005.  Right throughout university life I coached alongside my studies to pay my way as I wasn’t one of the students funded by parents.  Working came naturally and...

Unity

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UNITY is one of the necessities that every person should seek in all areas of life.  It means together or joined as a whole.  Combined.  Oneness of mind.  On one accord.  In harmony!   Here is my take on unity and how it relates to different areas of life: 1....

It’s Never Too Late To Start; thanks to Project 500 I became a qualified...

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As a stay at home mum it was only when I took my daughters to the local tennis club session that I got back into the game.  Having played when I was a lot younger at Club, School and County Level it has always been a sport that I...

A Mini Adventure – Fuelled on Welsh Cakes! (Part 2)

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  READ PART 1 HERE   We are off!  When the day to leave arrives it is with relief and excitement that we head off. This is literally the best part of the whole adventure, there is no more planning or training to be done and the road is just open for us...

Even footballing legends who are nominated for Coach of the Year are treated badly...

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A couple of weeks ago we shared the fantastic news that footballing legend and friend of the FCN Vera Pauw has been nominated by FIFA for the Best Women's Coach of the Year for 2016.  A tremendous end to a tremendous year for Vera and a well deserved nomination...

A Mini Adventure – Fuelled on Welsh Cakes! (Part 1)

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  As a life coach and a cycle coach I combine my skills to support and empower my clients to live a fitter and healthier life – to quite literally and figuratively get out of their head and on to their bike. With the work that I do it is...

Where are the champions of women’s and girls sport in Finland?

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  My eyes have been opened over the last few years with regards to how little attention is paid to women’s and girls’ sport in Finland. Recently the media made light of Teemu Selänne’s “return to daycare” as a “godfather” (he was once a daycare teacher, before he made hockey his...

“They are perfectly capable of the role of coach, yet they were not rising...

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The Growth in the Game The growth of American Football is largely due to two factors here in the UK. The first is the NFL games played at Wembley and BBC coverage of these, and secondly the rapid growth within the Flag game. For many, especially parents, the words American Football...

When Gender Roles Collide; Unfortunately there is still the stigma that female coaches are...

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READ PART 1 HERE Fast forward a few years where I again would come face-to-face with the idea that, as a female coach, not only did I have the responsibilities of a coach, for some reason being a woman meant I had an extra role I had to play: the...

When Gender Roles Collide; who we really are as coaches and what is expected...

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  As female coaches, we face the inevitable and usually unintentional collide of who we really are as coaches and what is expected for us as women. It is only female coaches who can hold this statement: It is very challenging. Surrounded by female coaches who were strong, passionate and...

Follow your dreams, regardless; It’s amazing what being told that you can’t do...

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  This is a purely historical blog from me this time. I had a moment a few weeks back when I was teaching a Level 1 coaching qualification in the North of England. One of the would be coaches mentioned that they were nervous of learning to be a coach...

A coach without a team

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I’ve recently transferred to a new team which has meant that I’m no longer head coach of the Wrecking Brawls at Leeds Roller Dolls. This was tough. I tried to hang on. I love coaching and I love the Brawls. The Brawls offered something different in roller derby, a chance...

Interview with Katie Smith on what it was like to stand in as Head...

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  Katie Smith is a retired professional basketball player, who played most recently in the WNBA. Her primary position was shooting guard, although she sometimes plays small forward or point guard. She is the all-time leading scorer in women's professional basketball, having notched over 7000 points in both her ABL and WNBA career. In 2011, she was voted...

The biggest difference in coaching male and female players in the US? … Diversity

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Last fall I accepted the position of Assistant Men's Soccer Coach at Dutchess Community College in New York. I have spent most of my career coaching, and this was by no means my first time coaching male players, it was however the first opportunity at the collegiate level. In...

To Give It Up, or to Give It My All, That Is the Question....

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Read Part 1 HERE Read Part 2 HERE I jump again to October 2015. And again refer back to my question To Give It Up, or to Give It My All, That Is the Question I gave it my all. It’s now or never. Think of your biggest fear. Think of it as...

How Golf could be the solution to all your coaching problems…

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  So this last month, I have decided to take up Golf.  A complete random decision and not a sport I have particularly followed - in fact I have to admit to finding it boring and never really understood how walking around beautiful courses in the most beautiful locations hitting...

To Give It Up, or to Give It My All, That Is the Question....

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  Read Part 1 HERE I went right back to coaching with my local club and teaching with Stockport Metro. Getting back to training was hard work, my body had been through a lot and living in another country and culture for a year has a bigger impact than you would...

To Give It Up, or to Give It My All, That Is the Question...

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  I would like to share quite a personal but life changing subject. This will come as no surprise; the entire topic is based around swimming! The entire Female Coaching Network is amazing, reading everyone’s blogs, experiences and being able to see so much of myself and what I want for...

“Learn her name…” – Things that you read on social media…

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    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...

EXCLUSIVE – Sheryl Swoopes interview as she is inducted into the Basketball Hall of...

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Sheryl Swoopes is one of the most celebrated and decorated women's basketball players of all time, being the first player to be signed in the WNBA in 1996, she is a three-time WNBA MVP, was named in the leagues Top 15 players of all time and has three Olympic Gold medals...

The Story of Lang Ping; Volleyballs first person to win Olympic Gold as both...

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After a worse-than-anticipated medal tally at Rio, with Team China finishing in third place below Great Britain, all seemed well again after China on Saturday (Aug. 20) took home its 26th gold in a 3-1 victory over Serbia in women’s volleyball. The victory was a huge moment for China. Its women’s volleyball team...

A stark reminder of how far we are still yet to go for the...

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During the excitement of the Olympics and whilst we were all celebrating the achievements of some incredible female coaches, we received this email.  A stark reminder of how far we are still yet to go for the fight for true equality and attitudes towards women who coach...   "A few months ago,...

“What is the point, don’t you get bored? I mean it’s not like you...

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  My personal background in swimming is quite unique. I trained and competed with the same club for years until I was 12 and got glandular fever just like loads of teenagers my age, but this lead to a spiral of ill health and a diagnosis of Systemic Lupus. My...

The Mechanic and the Machine

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As coaches we know what we are doing and why. Naturally the way, tactics etc. change over time but I sometimes wonder if as I coach I have always been as open and adaptable to this as I would like to think I am/was. I have coached and taught swimming...

The greatest 400m race in History & The Amazing Achievement of Anna Botha

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Anna Botha, a name that not many in the sporting World had heard of before Rio 2016, made a name for herself on the night of August 14th, in the Olympic Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. Wade Van Niekerk, a 24 year old sprinter from South Africa broke the 17 year old...

Tomorrow morning we will ask a group of about sixty Congolese men what they...

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  Tomorrow morning we will ask a group of about sixty Congolese men what they are going to do for the women and girls in their communities. What would you like me to tell them on behalf of you, the mothers of Kalebuka?” — It was Thursday afternoon and I was sitting...

Tamika Catchings shares with us what Pat Summitt meant to her and how her...

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Tamika Catchings is one of US basketballs most celebrated and decorated players of all time.  Aged 37, she is about to embark on her 4th and final Olympic Games in Rio, after having achieved Gold at the last three Olympics. Before being drafted to the WNBA in 2001 for the...

Lifting the ban on headgear will result in more positive Muslim, Sikh and Hindu...

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  My name Is Asma Elbadawi, I am a Basketball player, Coach, Artist and spoken word poet from Sudan. I am also an activist: I am campaigning for the International Basketball Federation to permanently lift the ban on headgear to allow players who wear turbans, hijabs, and other religious headgear...

What Buying a ‘Cup’ Can Teach Us About Finding Diverse Candidate Pools

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When I was in college I went home with my friend Lisa from Mississippi for spring break. She was one of the first people I had met when arriving on campus as a freshman and we could not have been more different. As a “Southern Debutante” Lisa always looked...

For the love of the game; meeting Martina Hingis

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  Martina Hingis is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 in doubles by the WTA. She spent a total of 209 weeks as the singles world No. 1 and has won five Grand Slam singles titles (three at the Australian Open, one at Wimbledon, and...

“Behind my closed door, in the dark recesses of my bedroom, I loved my...

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When we first immigrated to the United States, my mother and I fought almost every day. She would hand me the front page of the Los Angeles Times and say, “Read it. You need to read in English.” I crumpled it up and threw it away, and she started to put...

My Coaching Journey – Rachel Follows

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I have been a training and into competitive swimmer since I was 4, one of those children who took to the water naturally, learnt all 4 strokes in a few weeks (my butterfly was questionable but at 4 years old it can be excused!). I dropped in and out...

Manisha Tailor recognised and merited as a Rising Star in Sport 2016.

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  Manisha Tailor, our FCN blogger and partner in raising the profile of female football / soccer coaches has been recognised for her work in the sports industry. The prestigious Rising Star awards aim to showcase the pipeline of female talent in the UK and to create role models across 20...

“I never thought I would ever be coaching 14 Kenyan Maasai Men in full...

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    When I started coaching cricket four years ago I had one aim – to make cricket more accessible for everybody. When I came up with this mantra, or what the England and Wales Cricket Board Coaching Association now call a ‘coaching philosophy’, what I had in mind was getting...

Share your story of Pat; “she was not intimidating; rather, she was a powerful...

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  The day of Pat Summitt’s passing I was asked if I had ever met her; and, if so, was she intimidating? I remarked that she was not intimidating; rather, she was a powerful presence. I had the honor of meeting her while coaching at Princeton University. We had traveled...

Share your story of Pat; “I remember you- you were the lefty from Atlanta”

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    I attended my first Lady Vol basketball camp the summer I was going into 5th grade (10 yrs old) At that time- the age requirement was 12. My dad called and spoke to Pat directly and asked her to make an exception for me to attend the camp. She...

Share your story of Pat; “I’ve often thought about why she became such an...

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  Lots of coaches win. Lots of coaches impact players and those around them. Lots of coaches leave a legacy. What was so different about Pat Summitt?   I’ve often thought about why she became such an important part of my life. I never played for her. I never coached with her....

Pat Summitt’s incredible timeline of sporting greatness….

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  Pat Summitt - 1976   1974: At age 21, she is named the head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. On Jan. 10, 1975, Summitt wins her first game as a coach at the collegiate level, a 69-32 victory over Middle Tennessee. She finishes her...

Nancy Lieberman on playing for Pat Summitt: “I was going to show Pat that...

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Back in November 2014, we interviewed Sacramento Kings (NBA) Assistant Coach Nancy Lieberman about her own career and asked her what it was like to play under the legendary Pat Summitt.   "I had some great coaches.  I played for Pat Summitt who was my team mate in ’75 and ’76.  We...

“You win in life with people.” – statement from the Pat Summitt Foundation

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Patricia Sue Head Summitt Obituary June 14, 1952 - June 28, 2016 “You win in life with people.”   This is one simple statement that Patricia Sue Head Summitt embodied, lived by and passed on to so many throughout her 64 years of life. She ‘won’ every day of her life because of the...

Body Image; Jess Ennis was called “fat” (Part 2)

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Body image affects athletes’ performance on the field due to the expectations of society. A lack of confidence or the wrong diet can seriously hinder an athlete’s performance and therefore stops athletes from achieving the full potential. Further to this the advancement of the availability of Sport Psychology to...

Body Image; why do we teach young girls to care more about how they...

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Rebecca Adlington- “It's hard for a woman. A woman has to deal with it - and that's never easy.” While on a recent shopping spree, I could not help but overhear a group of teenage girls talking about how much they loved swimming but did not want to go due...

3 Female Coaches in American Sports You Need To Know…

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A key component of success in sports is a great coach, and both men and women have had influential and impressive coaching careers. However, the path for female coaches isn’t easy: male coaches typically earn more than female coaches, and there is research that suggests that female coaches have been losing ground since...

14 of Coach Pat Summitt’s Most Inspirational Quotes

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      Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summitt spent more than three decades in the world of basketball. A legend with an impressive record of wins and losses.  Now retired, she continues to be an important figure in sports for the University of Tennessee and female coaches. Below are 14 of the...

The Drip…

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I bought my house almost three years ago. For some time now I have noticed a “clicking” noise in my kitchen. Well, I hear it while I’m in my kitchen but the noise is coming from the ceiling and on the other side of that ceiling is my master bathroom. I can’t tell...

FCN Interviewee Linda Irish Bosick has huge success at National Swim Meet

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    United States Masters Swimming, for adults 18 years and older, is all about the numbers. So when Jupiter-based Palm Beach Masters head coach and founder Linda Bostic realized she had 48 swimmers to compete at the U.S. Masters Spring National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., from April 28 to May 1,...

My Coaching Journey; Scarlett Cooper-Wall (Head Coach of Loughborough’s 2XV, UK)

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  I started playing rugby when I was 6 years old and was the only girl for 4 seasons. I had to leave this team when I was too old to play with the boys and as there were no girls teams in the area I had to stop playing....

Disadvantaged, handicapped and limiting disabilities; setting up a deaf field hockey team

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  During my time setting up deaf hockey I wanted to know how and when other coaches get their first experiences of looking at how to provide, support and coach those that have a "disability". I call it "disability" as it is described as a physical or mental condition that limits a...

Where there is cricket there is hope

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If you are born in a developed country you have food on the table, shelter, free from war, free from severe inequalities within society, let’s face it you have won life’s lottery. Whilst the migration issue is often on the news, few report on what life is like for people,...

Coaches Across Continents; The Story of ‘Ask for Choice’ in Peru in the year...

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CAC’s ASK for Choice leader in Lima, Daniela Gutiérrez, tells Peru’s ASK for Choice story as if it is 2026.   Although in English words don’t seem to rhyme When a woman expresses ideas like this, People see it as a crime. We were born without apple, with snake, chained by the past, shorn of the present. In this...

Coaches Across Continents; The Future of Women’s Rights in Islam and Zanzibar

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Fatma Said Ahmed, answers some questions by Coaches Across Continents about her recent training in Unguja, Zanzibar in partnership with the Ministry of Sport, the Zanzibar Football Association, and Save the Children.   How did you get involved with CAC? I first heard about Coaches Across Continents from Zanzibar National Sports Council...

The FCN pays tribute to Mamie Rallins

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The FCN would would like to pay tribute to one of all time track & field coaching greats - Mamie Rallins after her tragic death on May 16th. Mamie was an American hurdler who competed at the 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympics and went on to serve as the USA Head...

Breaking Down the Barriers for Women in Boxing

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My bags are packed and I'm headed to Kazakhstan, where I will be working with the top level boxers in the 2016 Women's World Boxing Championships. After being selected by AIBA International Boxing Association as an ambassador for women's boxing, I have been given many opportunities to speak on the topic of women in...

What does it mean to be a woman in a man’s World (part 2)

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  READ PART 1 HERE I am, in the mainstream, truly accepted as a coach – and as a head coach. I am accepted as just another coach at conventions and coaching clinics, even though I am usually the only female coach present. The nice aspect is the fact that more...

What does it mean to be a woman in a man’s world (Part 1)

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I am a coach. I coach American Football. I have regular reactions to what I do of ‘you do what?’, and ‘you coach children?’ – No, I am the head coach of a male university team; I have seven male coaches on my coaching team, who look to me to...

REPORT: First selection day for Great Britain Womens Flag Football Squad.

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Following on from the development day, this weekend saw the first selection day for Great Britain Womens Flag Football Squad. A small squad of players, but a smaller squad of coaches. Headed up by HC Andrew Gambrill, the GB coaching group now sees two female coaches on the squad, Sarah...

REPORT: Here Come The Girls! – UK Women’s Flag Football Development Day

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  A sunny but cool Saturday morning in a school in Lancashire, UK and over 60 women are taking part in a development day for BAFA Flag Football.  But this is a new experience as it is the first development day coached exclusively by female coaches. Why is this such...

No matter what level we are at in our playing or coaching we are...

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Deep in the south (US) there is a small private Christian school. For a long time this school did not have athletic teams. Then four years ago they started their program. They started a men’s soccer team and a men and women’s cross country team. Now four years later...

My experience coaching football in Tanzania

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Football has played a big role in my life. Growing up, I’d get involved with football as much as possible, from playing in the school playground, to club teams, coaching in my community and working within a football academy. So when I was required to undertake a ‘work experience...

Coat of Many Colours; “I shake off the mum and the wife and the...

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It's the end of the day, or the start of the weekend and it's time to Coach.  For many of us coaching is something we fit in to our free or spare time after being a mum, a wife a full time worker. For me as soon as I put...

Life As A Volunteer Coach; advice to other women wanting to become coaches

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Tales of a Woman Coach; each time, it makes me feel a little smaller,...

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READ PART 1 HERE READ PART 2 HERE     I tend to believe—or I want to anyway—that it is not out of some spite for our gender that boys and men on the court treat me as an inferior, or make me feel as such. As a coach, I don’t think I...

Life As A Volunteer Coach; Could you take time off and come back? (part...

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Tales of a Woman Coach; “Our breasts won’t atrophy and our vaginas won’t fall...

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READ PART 1 HERE   Part 2 Men and women often ask me, “Where are all the women coaches?” In cities and suburbs across the United States, winter evenings echo with the orchestra of girls’ basketball games and spring weekends pound with the pace and sweat of hundreds, if not thousands, of...

Life as a Volunteer Coach; Who would cover your session? (part 7)

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

International Day for Sport Development and Peace; “April 6 is a day to celebrate...

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Sport for Development & Peace April 6 is International Day for Sport Development and Peace. What does that mean?   I had the opportunity to get to experience what this all meant last year at the United Nations Office for Sport Development and Peace Leadership Conference in Bradenton, FL. In one short sentence...

Tales of a Woman Coach; Every woman coach, at all levels, knows what I...

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No one really knew what the coach was yelling about. Maybe not even him. But, just as my fourteen-year-old player stepped to the line for her pair of free throws, he marched onto center court. I could see a cloud of spit hanging in front of his wine-red face;...

Flying High; What can we as women expect as we set off on...

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Sometimes the journey we take is not always as smooth as we'd like it to be.   What can we as women expect as we set off on our sky high journey in to coaching.   Firstly choose a destination - Do you want to go to the land of Football, Netball, Hockey,...

Life as a Volunteer Coach; how could your governing body help you? (part 6)

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Gail Emms Q&A

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Gail Emms MBE is an icon of British sporting success, with a string of gold, silver and bronze medals achieved in a huge array of international competitions and Olympic Games.  As a former world champion and having won a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games with mixed badminton...

You never know when you’ll meet someone or do something simple that catches someone’s...

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I first shared this story several years ago when I was coaching at Wayne State College in Nebraska. Years later I still find value in these words. Enjoy… I think we do a pretty good job teaching our team that while they might be able to take their jerseys off, they are always...
Ornmadee Baxter-Lovo

I didn’t have the “born to coach” mentality that one is supposed to have

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Whenever people ask me how I started coaching the first thing I tell them is that I learned to love it. I didn’t have the “born to coach” mentality that one is supposed to have. I was a shy kid, I spent my earliest athletic memories sitting on the...

Seeing the lesson in everything

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One of the main purposes of this trip is learning how to create a different mindset. I can intellectualize and understand very well the idea that our mindset is essentially responsible for i) what we do ii) how we do it and iii) how much fun we have in the...
Maasai Cricket Warriors

The Corridor of Opportunity: Their futures had already been decided; they were going to...

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As a female coach you read lots of articles claiming that sport has the power to engage and empower women, but it was not until this year that I understood what this meant in reality. Think of the ideal conditions for playing cricket – blue skies, hazy warm sunshine and...

Cricket Without Boundaries; Why I wanted to coach in Rwanda, Kenya and Cameroon

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If you speak to people in this country (UK) about their experiences of playing sport when they were younger, you come across a division. There are those who recall horror stories of being made to do cross country running on cold, wet Wednesday afternoons by sadistic coaches, bellowing at...

Bang head here – my guide to frustration

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I would like to have a little discussion about frustration; something I know lots about. My observation so far about ‘expectation meeting reality’ goes a little like this: 1. What I hope will happen 2. What will probably happen and 3. What actually happens. These are worlds apart and...
unlucky

Unlucky! I hear you cry.

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I am sure we have all at some point in our careers either used the word unlucky when coaching or hear team mates say it to one another. However why did you say it? And what do they mean? When I was a younger coach and even in my early PE...

“Well, this is embarrassing….”

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I had just landed in Atlanta.  After 10 days abroad and a long day of international travel I was finally back in the United States. I knew I had about six hours before I would be back in the midwest but I was making progress on this journey. I also knew that...

Riding the tide of change: ‘Life will teach you how to live –...

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‘Life will teach you how to live – if you live long enough’ These are stolen words from Tony Bennett, the Jazz singer and I think there is real truth to that. My quest however is to learn the lessons faster, so I have more of my life to enjoy,...

Using Technology to connect and keep women in the game

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When talking with other women in coaching one of the things mentioned most often is the lack of a strong and local network of women in the profession. For female soccer coaches, especially at the youth level, it is not uncommon to spend an entire day, week or tournament...

FCN Ambassador Jazz heads off to China

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Jazz Hervin is a football coach from the UK who has recently passed her UEFA B licence, aged only 21.  Jazz was the first interviewee of the FCN back in July 2014 and as a Level 2 FA coach, she was the first female coach in a men's semi-professional...
Clipboard

Letting Go: Don’t they know how meticulous all my planning has been?

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I spend time investing emotionally when writing and developing my programmes. I want them to be simple and elegant as they address the needs of both the individual and their sport. I also want to make sure there is a kind of progression in place which support the physical...
angelique-kerber

The Truth About Being a Female Athlete

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Being an athlete means so much. It means being in shape to play your sport, willingness to train hard, wanting to grow with your team and coaches to be the best you can be. There is loads of pressure from different areas; from school, friends, teammates, coaches, and families....

Life as a volunteer; how much does coaching cost you? (part 5)

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Why Mom should coach the kids…

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Youth sport depends upon volunteer coaching usually by the parents of participating children. Before you pass by the “Head Coach” slot and write in your name next to “Team Mom” consider these sobering stats. In 1972 women coached 90% of women’s intercollegiate sports teams. Forty-three years later, that number...

From Rugby Mom to Newbie Coach; my experience coaching U6’s

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I’ve been a rugby mom a couple of years now but am a newbie coach. It’s been less than two months since I started in the role but it feels like so much has happened in those months. I enjoy it so much that every day I look forward...

Thank you for your service

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I had just spent ten days in Central America; five days in Nicaragua, five days in Honduras and it was time to fly home. My head was clear, my heart was full but my body was very tired. After ten days in different beds, on a different sleep schedule, eating...

Life as a Volunteer Coach; time commitment and personal sacrifices (part 4)

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Just a Degree or a life changing skill?

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This is something I never thought I would be able to do and yet, here it is! I never could have done it without the support from my family, friends and employer. There were times when I wanted to give up, get thrown out of the course or pay...

Congratulations you have been hired because you are a woman. You will now be...

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Congratulations you have been hired because you are a woman. You will now be the role model for all the girls/women in our program!    The complicated position of female coaches as role models and defacto representatives of all women...   Coaches are often seen as role models. It is an unwritten...

The kindness of strangers

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FCN Ambassador Bianca Thomas is on a global journey competing and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Bikini Fitness Bodybuilding. With a strong academic background in Molecular Biology (MSc) and Strength and conditioning (MSc),  Bianca is currently writing her first book called ‘Life Lessons From Sport’ which will be finished in September...

Life as a Volunteer Coach; A New Coaches Experience… (part 3)

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  There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Black History Month – Stephanie Hightower

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Stephanie Hightower is the current president of USA Track & Field (USATF). She was elected to a four-year term as president in December 2008. Hightower was a collegiate track star at The Ohio State University. From 1977 to 1980, she did not lose a race in the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles or the 100-meter hurdles,...

1% Better…

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Claudia achieved the Coaching F License at 20 and has since coached with Berkshire Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and had experience working with  Team First (made up of several of the 1999 USA women’s World Cup winning team).  She continues to play for Columbia International University in South Carolina as well...

VLOG: Jools Shows Us Around

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Jools is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World’s best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the English Institute of Sport whilst studying for...

Life as a Volunteer Coach; Coaching Environments & Facilities (part 2)

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Black History Month – C. Vivian Stringer

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C. Vivian Stringer is one of those coaches who comes along every now and again and becomes truly legendary. Born March 16, 1948, Vivian has one of the best records in the history of women's basketball. She is currently the head coach of the Rutgers University women's basketball team.  Vivian holds the distinction of being...

Life as a volunteer coach; Meet the Coaches

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There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the...

Clarity of Outcome…

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Jools Murray is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World’s best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the  English Institute of Sport whilst studying...

Finding middle ground

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 FCN Ambassador Bianca Thomas is on a global journey competing and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Bikini Fitness Bodybuilding. With a strong academic background in Molecular Biology (MSc) and Strength and conditioning (MSc),  Bianca is currently writing her first book called ‘Life Lessons From Sport’ which will be finished in September...

“Then they put skates on. It was chaos. Chaos punctuated by Facebook breaks.”

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About the Author: Maha El Nasser  “I’m an American transplant in the UK.  I’ve had quite a few years to try quite a few sports.  The sports that I find myself in love with, I have been coaching in varying capacities over the last 10 years.  I started by herding 5 year...

Calling All Coaches: so how far do you go to ensure the success and...

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    Being a sports coach today is a lot more complex in terms of expectations than it was even a decade ago. As in teaching, you’re often faced with a myriad of different personalities, levels of parental involvement, diverse skill sets, psychological baggage (yours too!) and pressure to excel in...

What Coaching really means…

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Claudia achieved the Coaching F License at 20 and has since coached with Berkshire Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and had experience working with  Team First (made up of several of the 1999 USA women’s World Cup winning team).  She continues to play for Columbia International University in South Carolina as well...

Cracked cups are annoying…

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FCN Ambassador: Molly is passionate about personal growth, developing positive functional team culture, service learning and leadership development. She is a visionary with a heart for developing cultures and leaders who are value driven, people centric and service oriented. She is an avid reader and a world traveler. She currently...

Who will you travel with in 2016?

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FCN Ambassador: Molly is passionate about personal growth, developing positive functional team culture, service learning and leadership development. She is a visionary with a heart for developing cultures and leaders who are value driven, people centric and service oriented. She is an avid reader and a world traveler. She currently...

Flashing lights, beeping noises and error codes

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FCN Ambassador: Molly is passionate about personal growth, developing positive functional team culture, service learning and leadership development. She is a visionary with a heart for developing cultures and leaders who are value driven, people centric and service oriented. She is an avid reader and a world traveler. She currently...

A four letter world starting with f***

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  FCN Ambassador: Molly is passionate about personal growth, developing positive functional team culture, service learning and leadership development. She is a visionary with a heart for developing cultures and leaders who are value driven, people centric and service oriented. She is an avid reader and a world traveler. She currently...

Why passing up great opportunities can lead to even greater ones…

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Claudia achieved the Coaching F License at 20 and has since coached with Berkshire Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and had experience working with  Team First (made up of several of the 1999 USA women’s World Cup winning team).  She continues to play for Columbia International University in South Carolina as well...

International Netball Coach to Director of Netball; My reforms for Netball in the UK...

3
Melissa is an international netball coach who has travelled the World coaching the sport she loves.  Originally from New Zealand, Melissa has had many netball coaching roles including being Head Coach for the New Zealand Maoris team, Fiji national team and most recently the Welsh National team.  To read her full interview with...

What it was like meeting the first woman to play in the NHL…

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Amy is a dedicated and passionate coach who’s field hockey experience dates back to her years as a collegiate field hockey athlete Amy has a host of coaching qualifications and has experience of working at both grassroots level and spending 14 years working as a High Performance Field Hockey Coach...

VLOG: Manisha Tailor introduces us to one of her teams!

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UEFA B Football coach Manisha Tailor works as Centre Manager at Middlesex Girls Centre of Excellence in the UK. She is also an FA Education Tutor and Academy Scout for Brentford Football Club (West London). In 2011, Manisha left her teaching role to become a full time football coach after...

10 things I have learned on my journey as a Strength & Conditioning Coach

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Emma Ostermann joined the Northern Arizona strength and conditioning staff in the fall of 2015, working primarily with the women’s basketball and women’s soccer programs. Prior to her arrival in Flagstaff, Emma worked with the U.S. Skiing and Snowboard Associations as a high performance sport science trainee.  She also spent time with the...

The only thing that is ‘certain’ is ‘uncertainty’

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Bianca Thomas is on a global journey competing and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Bikini Fitness Bodybuilding. With a a strong academic background in Molecular Biology (MSc) and Strength and conditioning (MSc), Bianca also has plans of starting a PhD.   Bianca is a big believer that sport should be used to...

The inspiration behind the FCN; the Pat Summitt Story (Part 2)

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In part two of this series about the legendary coach Pat Summitt - we share with you a short documentary made about her life and career as NFL legend Paten Manning presents Pat Summitt with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2012. "When a girl fell in love with a sport...

Justine Siegal, the first woman of baseball, answers questions on social media

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Justine Siegal made history when as the Oakland Athletics announced she would join them as a guest instructor for their Instructional League team from Oct. 4 to Oct. 17. Siegal, who holds a PhD in sport psychology from Springfield College, USA, is no stranger to breaking barriers in baseball. She founded...

The inspiration behind the FCN; the Pat Summitt Story (Part 1)

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In part one of this series about the legendary coach Pat Summitt - we will give you a full biography of her career and achievements: enjoy!   For four decades, the University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball program has been among the nation's elite and, in the process, has changed the...

Pat Summitt; the only female coach to win the Sports Illustrated ‘Sports person of...

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For those of you who are unaware, Sports Illustrated is a US based sports magazine first published in August 1954 and now read by over 23 million people worldwide per week.  It features elite sports such as the NBA, MLB, NFL alongside college sports in the NCAA including American...

How my own terrible coaches motivated me to be the best…

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“I’m Rachael aged 18 currently studying A levels at college in Northampton, U.K.  I currently coach/manage Well and Valley under 10 girls and under 12s Northamptonshire FA ACC (advanced coaching centre) which feeds into the England set up.   I first got involved in coaching at 13 by coaching in primary schools. I...

Why I want to be a role model for young Asian’s to take up...

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UEFA B Football / Soccer coach Manisha Tailor works as Centre Manager at Middlesex Girls Centre of Excellence in the UK. She is also an FA Education Tutor and Academy Scout for Brentford Football Club (West London). In 2011, Manisha left her teaching role to become a full time football coach...

From rowing to roller derby

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About the Author: Maha El Nasser  “I’m an American transplant in the UK.  I’ve had quite a few years to try quite a few sports.  The sports that I find myself in love with, I have been coaching in varying capacities over the last 10 years.  I started by herding 5 year...

Losing but winning – The End of a Chapter

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Bianca Thomas is on a global journey competing and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Bikini Fitness Bodybuilding. With a a strong academic background in Molecular Biology (MSc) and Strength and conditioning (MSc), Bianca also has plans of starting a PhD.   Bianca is a big believer that sport should be used to...

How to deal with losing…

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Jools Murray is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World’s best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the  English Institute of Sport whilst studying...

Coach’s dilemma – one of them

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“I am an enthusiastic UEFA B football coach with a particular interest in goal keepers and I love a challenge. I coach both boys and girls but the majority of my coaching is with girls and ladies. I have coached for nearly 20 years but only now realise how...

The Power of Choice

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I’m writing this a week before I leave Brazil and 3 days before I compete in South American championships for Jiu Jitsu. It marks the end of a very exhausting, difficult but transformative chapter. The enormity of it all hasn’t even sunk in yet but my overriding feeling is...

Your Coaching Bedrock

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Jools Murray is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World's best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the  English Institute of Sport whilst studying...

To Say or Not to Say…. That is the question; ‘over coaching’

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Jools Murray is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World's best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the  English Institute of Sport whilst studying...

Holding Yourself Accountable

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Jools Murray is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World's best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the  English Institute of Sport whilst studying...

Fight to Win

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Being competent at things is one way of creating confidence, and my experience is the more things we can be competent in, the more solid one’s confidence. That is not to say it will not shake, but when the entirety of one’s confidence is built on a single thing,...

Where Did All The Grown Ups Go?; The Disappearance of Elite Adult Competition Tennis...

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Having played tennis since the age of 4 and travelled Europe to compete professionally, Hollie is now the Head Coach of a Tennis Club in Cheshire as well being the Director of her own Tennis coaching Company. Alongside her coaching duties, Hollie was recently selected by Leeds Beckett University (UK) to...

A British Woman in Brazil; my experience of training and coaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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Bianca Thomas is on a global journey competing and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Bikini Fitness Bodybuilding. With a a strong academic background in Molecular Biology (MSc) and Strength and conditioning (MSc), Bianca also has plans of starting a PhD.   Bianca is a big believer that sport should be used to...

The ‘See-Saw’ of Happiness

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Bianca Thomas is on a global journey competing and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Bikini Fitness Bodybuilding. With a a strong academic background in Molecular Biology (MSc) and Strength and conditioning (MSc), Bianca also has plans of starting a PhD.   Bianca is a big believer that sport should be used to...

The Minority Report

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Natasha Harvey is a track & field coach specialising in jumps at Altis - a track & field training centre in North Phoenix, USA. Natasha, who is a five-time All American has most recently been based at the University of Oklahoma – working as a Sprints Coach and Assistant Director of Operations. With...

Nancy Lieberman’s journey to the NBA; written in her own words… (part 2)

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Read Part 1 of Nancy's blog HERE Part 2 "It’s the greatest women’s basketball league in the world with some of the most amazing legends who have played the game. I was fortunate to eke out a year at 39 years old, while my contemporaries, like Ann Meyers, Carol Blazejowski and Cheryl...

Sophie Christiansen; Criticism after hiring a female coach… (part 2)

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Sophie recently contacted the FCN to raise awareness of the issues she experienced and why she thinks her squad doubted that her female coach was able to cope with her coaching commitments alongside having a new child.   The FCN chatted to Sophie as she revealed some of the criticism she experienced and how...

Nancy Lieberman’s journey to the NBA; written in her own words… (part 1)

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The world has been blessed with some truly inspirational sports women over the last century.  From Florence Griffith Joyner setting the World Record for the 100m in 1988 which still stands today, Mia Hamm changing the face of women’s Soccer and Serena Williams dominating the tennis world for over...

Ever tried coaching on crutches?

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  To learn more about Maha, read her first blog  Roller Derby; ‘A newish coach in a new sport’…my journey in developing as a coach   Coaching from the crutch line About six weeks after I took over as head coach of the recreational league, my leg was broken in a game.  It...

Sophie Christiansen; Criticism after hiring a female coach… (part 1)

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Sophie Christiansen is one of Great Britain's most successful Paralympic athletes having competed at three consecutive Paralympic Games and winning medals at all three.  Having first competed in the Games at only 16 years old, she went on to win a whole host of Championships including European and World titles.  On...

Roller Derby; ‘A newish coach in a new sport’…my journey in developing as a...

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About the Author: Maha El Nasser "I'm an American transplant in the UK.  I've had quite a few years to try quite a few sports.  The sports that I find myself in love with, I have been coaching in varying capacities over the last 10 years.  I started by herding 5...

Why feedback has been important to me…

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Feedback has enabled to develop as a coach and think about delivering in a different way. From my level 2, right after my first delivery my tutor gave me great feedback around make sure that I was calm when I coached as I was worried about getting my coaching points...

A Canadian coach in Finland…

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Carmen was born and raised in northern Ontario in Canada. She has been living and working in Finland since 1998 and feels a diverse background such as hers brings a value to the bench as a coach.  To read more about her coaching journey click HERE I used to coach...

Why the Shannon Miller case is so important for all women in all sports.

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  For those of you that don’t know who Shannon Miller is - she is the most successful female ice-hockey coach of all time. Born in Canada in 1963, Shannon became the first female coach to lead her Country to an Olympic Games and in 1998, returned from Japan with a silver...

Managing Mistakes with the ‘Hat-trick Rule’

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Fact: Everyone makes mistakes! Scenario taken from ACC training Tuesday: a player is shielding a ball from the defender, the player loses the ball. Coaching options: * go in tell them it was wrong (command) * Question them on what happened and why? (Q+a) * Let player repeat skill (trial and error) * Offer hint (guided...

A Coaching Culture Shock; from Fiji to Wales

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Melissa Hyndman, an international netball coach originally from New Zealand, was Head Coach of the Fijian Netball Team in 2008 and went on couple of years later to coach the Welsh team.  Below, Melissa shares with us her experience of moving from one side of the world to the...

Why I Continue to Coach: A Mothers Journey Back to Track and Field Post-Partum

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Shelli is the Associate Head Track & Field Coach at the Univeristy of Iowa, USA.  After working hard as a track athlete as a junior, she started volunteering in high school and soon went on to become a part-time coach at DIvision III level.  Now, with a coaching resume over...

A Future England Manager in the making; Emotions of a Coach

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How I deal with my emotions during a game... Depending on what the game plan and the game, you and your team will need different emotion.  I work by: Whatever I want my players to feel, I must feel and I must demonstrate that feeling from the side. I always...

A Future England Manager in the Making; Top 5 Motivational Quotes

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Here are my 5 favourite motivational quotes...  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou. -> Motivates me to be a good person.  ------------------------- “When the mind is weak - situation is a problem, When...

Why are there so many New Zealand Head Coaches coaching at the Netball World...

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To give you an idea of the scope of people that play this game, Netball, throughout New Zealand, our population is 4.4 million and 3.14% play it week in and week out. The courts are a consist flow of all ages and levels coming and going from 8am to late...

Here’s to hoping…my thoughts on the developing game of English Cricket

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Here’s to hoping….. As top level cricket in England moves into an era of fast pace excitement and controversial techniques, I sit here secretly hoping that over the next couple of years this will filter down to the grass roots of the game. The majority of responses I get from people...

A future England Manager in the making; preparing for match day

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This week, we asked Jazz how as a coach, she prepares for match day... Evening before: Packing my bags; Print out sheets; Go over targets/game plan – I do this early evening, then I relax for the rest of the night. Morning of game: Wake up 8:30am (Home game); Pack the car and leave the house...

Why are there so many New Zealand Head Coaches coaching at the Netball World...

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New Zealand born Melissa Hyndman is one of the world's most prominant high performance netball coaches.  Previously having been the Fiji (2007 - 2009) and Wales (2010 - 2014) Netball Head Netball Coach, Melissa also has a string of other acheivements including BBC Sport Wales Coach of the Year Finalist 2013,...

A future England Manager in the making; what it takes to be a successful...

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In this mini-blog, we asked Jazz what she has learned over her career and the top 5 elements of being a successful coach... What lessons have you learned over your career that have allowed you to be where you are today? Ensure I have a good; Work-Rest balance: “Put the ball down”. To...

My final thoughts on coaching the GB Ultimate Frisbee Team…

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From all at the FCN, we wish Jools a safe trip back to Canada and best of luck for her new coaching adventures ahead! For those of you who have never coached, I would highly recommend it. It will make you question yourself, bring doubt into every choice you make and...

Pregnancy & Coaching; Rachel’s Story

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Our series of blogs about pregnancy and coaching aim to share stories of women's experience as to how they juggled being a new mum and a coach.  Following on from our latest blogs, Rachel Sandler (a T&F coach from USA) got in touch to explain her experience of coaching whilst pregnant and her thoughts on the Q&A blogs with Erika, Rikki and Shelli...   "I was the assistant Cross Country and Track & Field coach at a Division III liberal arts college for 4 years, and coached all 3 seasons (cross

Pregnancy & Coaching; During Pregnancy

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    A big thank you to our 3 coaches for sharing with us their pregnancy and coaching experience so far.  Here at the FCN, we know how important this topic is to so many of you and we have had some great feedback about this topic being raised.  There is still...

Pregnancy & Coaching; Finding out about the pregnancy

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  To kick off our series about pregnancy and coaching, we wanted to ask our coaches about their experience of initially finding out they were pregnant and the reaction of their colleagues.  As all three women are employed in their coaching positions, they are of course covered by employment law, but due to the nature of their employed jobs, was there a fear of letting their team down?  How does such a life changing situation affect a coaches ability to coach and did they plan their pregnancy in

Pregnancy & Coaching; Meet the Coaches

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Whilst there seems to be an abundance of research on women who exercise when pregnant, there is no real research into women who coach whilst pregnant and how it affects them before, during and after they start a family.  As all coaches know, coaching itself is a lifestyle commitment and one that takes over almost every element of ones life, with successful coaches always having to put the needs of their athletes first.  But what happens when the coach has to put their own needs first?    Many

“It is a tough job and not a lot of women are up for...

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I think as a coach you have to earn respect, period.  You earn your athletes respect for being the coach and knowing what you’re doing, but for males it’s about you being a female being able to coach them as a male.  Once you get into their head, ‘you know what, I’m going to work you just as hard as a male coach and I will critique you as much as a male coach’, then they have to accept the coaching that you have for them.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  I can tell you a story of one young man

Why my Mum is my Hero.

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    OK, so this isn’t strictly about coaching, but I am a female coach and becoming a coach was all inspired by a very special woman – my Mum.   My Mum is a strong woman.  Born in a small town in the North of England, as a teenager my Mum looked after her very poorly Dad whilst emotionally supporting her Mum.  She went on to train as a nurse and over the years has saved hundreds if not thousands of lives, affecting every person she meets in the most magical way.  She works more hours than she

‘If you feel that as a woman, I am able to teach your son...

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  Nicole is one very busy track and field coach! Based in Illinois, USA, Nicole set up her own track & field club after wanting to coach her own children nearer to home.  An athlete herself, Nicole prides her club on developing athletes in every area of T&F and is working hard at expanding the programme.  The FCN chatted with Nicole about her experience as a female coach.       When we are at meets, it’s not about me being a female coach, it’s about my athletes meeting their goals.  I always

Cricket…why it’s priceless

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Rhian is head coach for the Oxfordshire U11 Girls Squad as well as a senior player in the county team. Whilst she is still fairly new to the world of coaching, she has been involved with cricket for 13 years and is a true pioneer for the game.
 
You as a coach, whether you are a volunteer or paid, are so much more than just a pioneer for your hobby. Not only are you providing an opportunity for people to have a go at sport…you are helping to equip your players, whether young or old, with the essential life skills they need to take on the big wide world with capacity, courage and most importantly, confidence.

I am so grateful for sport and the invaluable life skills it has embedded in me.  I started playing cricket when I was 8 years old, and it has been the centre of my summers ever since. Playing it and now coaching it, is not only something I am passionate about but it continues to equip me with the ability to handle any situation I am faced with in everyday life – and that, I feel, is pretty priceless.  



Cricket has taught me how to be a team player - not only in the face of success but also when things have gotten pretty tough…and pretty tough they’ve gotten!  Relationships with people; whether they be professional or social are SO important and it’s no secret that the key to any successful relationship is teamwork. Decent teamwork comes down to one thing, every single member taking responsibility for themselves and their own actions. Whilst this lesson usually comes following hardship and a rough ride on the success train -  as coaches, we are providing a fun environment where players can get used to being in these kind of situations before the reality of the world hits them. For them, priceless.

Discipline – an important skill to possess and I don’t just mean so you avoid raiding the sweet cupboard and sabotage your healthy eating.  Discipline in Cricket is so important – knowing the right time to play the ball, instead of swinging at everything and hoping for the best. You get one chance to bat, so be in control of it, even in the face of frustration.  It takes one delivery to get out and then you are watching from the side line and you can’t score runs from there, can you?  Providing your players with the capacity to exercise discipline in any form of life, again, is priceless. 

Making choices under pressure, thinking on your feet, assessing and responding to a variety of situations, clear communication, adaptability, positive body language – all these skills are imperative to being a good sportswoman and an even better coach.  So…In those moments of self-reflection, which as women we have all too often, remember, that you are not just teaching players how to play a sport, you are teaching them how to play life and that, IS priceless. 

Amelie is part of the solution…

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I have spent this week following Women’s Sports Week, a fantastic initiative aimed at raising awareness of women in sport.  I have fully immersed myself in reading tweets, interviews, blogs, articles and listening to TV and radio programmes full of many inspirational women involved in sport.  It is fantastic...

I knocked and the door opened (part 2)

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In the midst of all this (part1), I was at a FAWSL football game with a friend. Literally as we were talking about coaching, a previous coach of his daughters’ old team came over to chat with him. Now I’m not the most confident type of person when meeting...

I knocked and the door opened (part 1)

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I'm in! It’s been about 10 weeks since my original blog; written on the verge of attending my first coaching course.  Since then, I continue to be amazed & excited by the opportunities that are opening up. Let me divulge.             Encouragingly, due to the course (Level 1 Football Coaching) being aimed at the...

Ignorance is Bliss…

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www.femalecoachingnetwork.comIf you don't think it's a problem don't make it one...My first coffee of the day is spent outside in my garden away from technology and distractions, I like to remind myself that for all our advancements in the World there'...

Do not let stereotypes stand in your way!

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Brenda is the Head Coach to the Queen's University Mens Volleyball Team in Ontario, Canada.  Her career has spanned 40 years and in that time she has won many Championships, has an incredible win-loss record and was inducted into the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Below, Brenda shares with us her thoughts as to why there aren't more female coaches in employed positions and her advice for those wanting to progress in their careers.

 "Just recently, our province just had a posting for provincial team coaches and we are running two teams of 16 and under and two teams of 18 and under girls so we needed 4 Head coaches and 8 assistant coaches.  We had a total of 3 applicants in the whole pool that were female!  So we had to go out and actively recruit, but we did manage to get a few more women after some arm twisting!  It is a bit concerning that there aren’t more women who feel ready or want to put themselves out there.

Some years ago, I remember reading about a Sports Sociology study involving athletes at the high school age in both genders and they were asked ‘What was the most important trait in a good coach”?  They overwhelmingly said someone who respects me as a person, someone who can organise our group and lead us in working towards a common goal.  That is something I think women can absolutely do! From my experience, women don’t feel they are ready technically or tactically advanced enough,  but that’s easy to learn and the simplest part of coaching.  That’s lower on the list as far as athletes are concerned.  So I think more women need to believe in themselves and their communication and leadership abilities!

If I was going to give one piece of advice it would be don’t let stereotypes stand in your way and don’t be your own limiting factor.  If it’s something you want to do...apply! The worst that will happen is that you don’t get it, but if you don’t apply then you’re not going to get it, for sure!  So, you are ensuring the worst thing happens!  I think women should be encouraged to put themselves out there and try things...if I hadn’t agreed to take the second 18 year old boys team on when I was 23 years old, I may not have had a coaching career!  I didn’t know the men’s game, I just learned along the way and asked a lot of questions and 5 years later I was coaching University men.  So it’s really about being in the right place at the right time and also about taking risks and believing in yourself. 

Even going through the interview process a couple of times without being selected,  you learn something in the process and grow as a person, and when the right opportunity comes along then you’re ready!”

Watch out for an exclusive interview with Brenda here on the FCN website on Monday 27th April 2015.

Knocking at the door, please let me in.

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Joanne is a life long sports fan and participator from England.  She is currently a primary school teacher but now venturing into football coaching.   "Some people say they have no regrets in life.  I’ve had several, but am trying to lessen the number.  One of my biggest regrets is thinking I...

My Coaching Journey – Tracy Donachie

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Tracy is a PhD Research student at York St Johns University in the UK.  She is qualified in performance psychology and currently works with various athletes, sports teams and coaches.  Below, Tracy has shared with us her journey from an ...

Nearly every woman feels uneasy about self-promotion. Do it anyway!

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Why Networking is Important for female coaches. The only way to succeed and progress in your coaching (and in life), is to take yourself out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.  When you get an opportunity to network with other coaches, don’t moan and groan and turn...

3 of the Best Things about being a female coach in 2014

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Lately I’ve been thinking about my coaching experience, especially the experiences I’ve had in the past year. In day to day life it can be easy to focus on negative experiences, for example, how often do we talk about what good experiences we’ve had in restaurants, instead of how...

What it really feels like to coach a boys team as a Female Coach

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Despite having coached several boys teams in the past, I always still get a little bit nervous when starting with a new team, especially when they are teenagers. Having had only one rugby training session with my College U18 squad we took to County 10s Tournament. I always wonder what they think when they first find out their coach is female, I wonder if I should talk them through my credentials, my experience and other teams I coach….but then I think why should I have to justify myself?


On the coach to the County 10s I got a chance to speak properly to the boys outside of a training session and the truth is many of them don’t care that they have a female as coach, instead they think it’s pretty cool. They told me about how there is many other women in their life involved in their rugby clubs, but not in a coaching positions, but see no reason why there isn’t more female coaches. They started asking me how I first got into coaching, who I spoke to to take my first steps and how they could get into it. Conversation soon moved onto my role within county coaching and how I first got into the game. At first I thought are they were starting to question my credentials, but I soon realised they are not questioning me because they doubt my abilities, they are asking because for them I am the first female coach in the game they have met and for them that’s interesting.

When we arrived at the tournament I was also the only female coach or as they call it in Schools Rugby ‘Master’. This automatically made me feel a little out of place inside, but at the end of the day it’s only a title and I’m sure the term is used due to tradition. I often caught members of other teams looking over at me, it can be a bit annoying at times, you know their trying to figure out if you are actually their coach or if you’ve been sent along just to look after the team for the day. It’s oddly something you get used to after a while. I just ignore it and know that I’m going to prove myself when my team take to the pitch…but then again why should I feel more pressure to do well just because I’m female?


My team did really well, they worked their socks off and took on board all I had asked them to do, eventually coming 4th. It was a good event to bond with my team too, I got to know them better as players and they got to know me better as a coach…spending a whole day with them too also gave me a chance to cement all their names in my head !! They got a chance to get used to me and the way I work too, nicknaming me Queen Bee due to the fact the Colleges mascot is a Bee, which I thought was pretty cool. I’m so excited to continue working with them and I’m pretty sure they are with me to….in two days post tournament they have recruited another 6 players!!!

My coaching Journey; Carmen Pekkarinen, Espoo, Finland

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Carmen was born and raised in northern Ontario in Canada. She has been living and working in Finland since 1998 and feels a diverse background such as hers brings a value to the bench as a coach.

I’ve been involved in sports for as long as I can remember. I never excelled at anything and was labelled a good “all-rounder” by an award selection committee when I was in high school. I suppose it is a good label to have because I feel that is how my life has played out: I am a “Jill of all trades, but a master of none.” That’s okay, I feel like I have a variety of experiences to apply in any new situation I find myself in, and that includes coaching.

The first team I ever helped coach was a boys’ basketball team from my former elementary school when I was in high school. In my last year of high school I found myself on the coaching roster of our wrestling team. I was speed skating and needed some good cross-training to keep my fitness level up. When I approached the coaches they enthusiastically took me on-board because it allowed them work more on the technical aspects with the team, so I became responsible for fitness training. Looking back on that time I feel really bad now, boy did we ever drive the boys hard at the beginning of the season! They never forgot it, but it paid off dearly because we had one of the best wrestling teams in all of northern Ontario that season.

Girls’ wrestling in Canada began to emerge with more prominence in the early-mid 1990s and in university I found myself back on the mat with our club team at tournaments. The coaches were very good and they brought me on board as a support. I didn’t know a lot about wrestling and some of the girls looked to the more experienced coaches for help, but I learned as I went and felt like a valuable member of a team. At one point our girls as a team were ranked as one of the best teams in all of Ontario. They were driven and I know that good coaching played a role in that.

I wasn’t sure how to describe myself as a coach, so I asked a former colleague of mine, Mark, to add a few words. He said:

“What kind of Coach is Carmen Pekkarinen?  She's the best kind of coach.  She’s demanding and she's positive. Carmen believes a good attitude mixed with a sufficient amount of tough love can produce results for anyone.  When Carmen coaches you, you always feel like she believes in you.  No matter how difficult your quest is...you know Carmen will be there for you.  At the same time Carmen does not settle for a weak effort.  She will push you and push you until you begin to realize you can achieve more than you thought you could, as long as you are willing to make the effort. Most of all - Carmen inspires her athletes with her own willingness to do what they are doing, to train as hard as they are training, and to push herself to her own limits.  Carmen's willingness to lead by example, and her belief that each athlete can excel with the proper attitude and effort, are what make her a great coach.”

In 1997 and 1998 I was working on my coaching certification for wrestling, but suddenly decided to move Finland to live because of good opportunities to work. The promises in wrestling were high, I had even been approached by the head of the Ontario Wrestling Association to become the athletes’ Ombudsman. With the move to Finland, I closed the door on the sport unfortunately, unable to get myself in the door on this side of the pond.

Integrating into the life of new country takes time and with lacklustre language skills I didn’t muster up the courage to join group activities or sports until just a few years ago. Having a child changed that because I had to venture out with her. I thank my neighbours for giving me confidence, and a new vocabulary!

Fast forward to 2012: My then four year-old daughter started playing ringette with the Espoon Kiekkoseura (Espoo Hockey Club) in January and after a stint in ringette school, she was moved to a team in the fall. I asked if I could join the team on the ice and I haven’t looked back. I found myself on the bench as a “huoltaja,” a caretaker of sorts: tightening skates, adjusting equipment, getting the goalie ready, filling water bottles and giving minor first aid among other things.

Last season I even dusted off my whistle, helped with drills and lead some of the warm-ups. Last year was a great season from my perspective, I worked with a group of 5-6-7 year-old girls who started off pretty slow. By the end of the season we had strong skaters, which was really great. A lot of them learned more about the game of ringette, my own daughter included, when I noticed that something had clicked for her, I was incredibly surprised. I wondered: “Wow, how did that happen!?”

The best part of coaching this crew of girls was that they didn’t care if I didn’t speak perfect Finnish, they understood me most of the time. We also had six girls who could speak and understand English, so that was a great bonus. As a group overall this team was better than the team of the previous year and it showed in our tournament performances against other clubs. I know they’re small kids, but we must have done something right!

My daughter and some of her teammates have moved up to the next level this season, so the demands are a little higher and the skill set a little more complicated. These kids are learning a lot stuff that I never learned as a player back in Canada. No wonder Finland has the best ringette players in the world! What pleased me the most was to hear one of the coaches say just a few weeks ago, that this group of girls have a better overall skating skill level than last year’s team.  I relayed that back to my old team and let them know – we did the right thing!
I even started playing again too and joined a women’s team in the same organization a year ago. The game has changed a lot since I played back in Canada, so the learning curve is high! I think my biggest challenge is the language, Finnish is not easy to learn!

Demand for coaching training is so high that getting into the annual ringette coaching clinics in Finland is tough. So far it is only offered once a year. I have missed it two years in a row now. Add on top of that a new language and the challenges increase. I have been assured I could make it through the coaching training in Finnish, so let’s hope I can get in next year. I suspect I’ll be following my daughter up the ranks as she gets older (provided she wants to stick with it) in the role of a coach or a caretaker. If she decides not to, I’ll go back to helping the small kids because I think that is where the most rewards and satisfaction are.

So I am with Mark, the best coach is the coach that is engaged with their kids and is out there on the court, field, mat or rink with them. The best coach is also a coach who believes in all of her players on a team, only one can be the best, but it’s important to extend support to all athletes on the team by giving them a chance to prove themselves.

Today I retired from coaching…

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So today I am going to retire from coaching after 16 years.  I have one more coaching session left.  I have fallen into the trap of 'family committments and not enought time'.  There are things I want to achieve in my life that I am unable to do whilst...

My Coaching Journey; Angela Crossley

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At the age of 9 after watching Wimbledon I decided Tennis looked like a great game to play and challenged my father to a game in the local park. I soon realised he wasn’t very good…. and I think to avoid his own embarrassment of losing to his daughter...

Jazz Hervins 1st Game in charge of Men’s Football Team in England

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South West Peninsula Football League – Premier Division Stoke Gabriel FC (1) v Launceston FC (1) On Saturday 9th August, it was the first league game of the 2014/15 season. We, Stoke Gabriel FC, are a newly promoted team to the SWPL Premier Division. And as the first game of the season...

10 things I have learnt about Sports Coaching; from the appaulling to the awesome.

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Carol Wical is a researcher and project, team, and web content manager from Brisbane, Australia. She once played many sports but now keeps fit running and cursing her PT. She co-hosts the sports show at BayFM Saturday mornings 10-noon, calls basketball games, is a Community Correspondent for ABC 612, and interviews sports women...

Having a female coach from a man’s perspective (Part 2)

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Upon recognizing I was a closet sexist the next challenge was meeting my coach without her realizing this. Upon our introduction in a muggy clubhouse I refused to acknowledge the fact that she was of similar age and with a nice smile, so I thrust my hand out and...

My Coaching Journey; Lucy Callingham

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Lucy is College Sports Maker and Rugby Coach from Sussex in South East England. She has been involved with sport for the past 15 years and coaching for the past 6. Her work as a College Sports Maker leads her to developing sport at a local College through promotional...

Having a female coach from a man’s perspective (Part 1)

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When I think of the word coach I think of films, when I think of films I think of Coach Carter or Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday.  When I think of these names I think of testosterone, shouting and all things domineering. So you can imagine my trepidation...