|Organisation:||Staffordshire Surge ladies team|
Coach Phoebe has been involved in the British Womens game since its conception. Now making her move into coaching, we talk about her achievements from being the Captain of the Great Britain Womens team to coaching a new Ladies team in Staffordshire.
Author: Sarah Jauncey is an American Football Coach from the UK. From the glitz and glamour of multi-million dollar franchises in the US, Sarah coaches the sport in much more humble settings. Sarah is the Head Coach of her local team and the only female coach in the GB set up. To find out more about Sarah, read our exclusive interview with her HERE
It originally started off when I went to help out with the Manchester Titans Ladies, kind of as a player-coach. From there I started helping out with the Manchester Youth team. I really enjoyed helping and coaching, then when Sarah had created the Staffordshire Surge Womens team, I took that over – that’s been the greatest joy working with the women’s team.
Head Coach of the Staffordshire Surge ladies team, Special Teams Co-Ordinator for the Surge Senior Men’s Team, Sports Conditioning Programme writer for the GB Womens teams. Playing wise, I play for the Cheshire Cavaliers Flag Football Team, Birmingham Lions Womens Tackle Team, Staffordshire Surge Men’s team, GB Women’s Flag and GB Womens Tackle Team.
When I did my level 1 coaching I did the ‘womens edition’ one! A coaching qualification day that was specifically aimed at women, so actually there was more women than there were men. But then when I did my level 2 I was the only woman, there was probably 10 men and me!
At first I don’t think they were very sure about what to do with me being there, and I think they possibly doubted my skills, knowledge – But actually towards the end they were more comfortable, and after we did a practical it was a lot easier!
Playing has been amazing! I don’t know what I would do without playing. But it’s really interesting because when it came to coaching the womens team, I really didn’t want to play- and I still don’t want to play – I enjoy watching them learn and watching them kind of figure it out for themselves. I don’t get the urge to play, though I was not sure how I would take that originally, ‘how do I stay back?’. Same with the men’s special teams, I have got so much to learn! I was really lucky with Coach Smith to allow me to take on that role because it was a big leap for me. I don’t claim to know much about the sport, so at first I wasn’t really wanting to participate, but now getting to know the guys and they are getting to know me, and now playing on the team, it feels right. But I wouldn’t have felt comfortable jumping in and taking on all these roles like I was trying to ‘take over’ without this time learning.
It is a weird situation! Isn’t it funny that we worry how the men receive us as coaches, but actually the way that women look at us is almost more ‘under the microscope’ than the men. Which is interesting, but it could be down to our nature! I feel that women want you to ‘prove’ yourself more.
Well, I just think achievements for me as a coach is to see the Surge Ladies grow and to see the Surge men start to enjoy special teams more, as it is really an underappreciated role on the team. Special teams wins games! As a player, I have been so lucky, I don’t know whether I can really narrow it down. But standing at the European Championships last year (2015), beating Germany and then winning Silver, bringing that home – that was huge! We celebrated as if we had won the whole competition, I had never felt so emotional and passionate! All the hard work, all that we had gone through and how far we had come all came down to that one moment – it was crazy!
You need to be confident. But I also think you need to be humble at the same time, don’t think that you know it all, they don’t want to see that. No one knows it all. Learn who your players are, and use them to their strengths. It took me quite a long time to get to know who everyone was and sometimes they only turn up the day before a game!! But when you go out there you kind of need to maintain a level head and not let things get to you. It’s a big responsibility!!
I would love to see Surge Ladies take on contact, and move into the Sapphire Series here in the UK. That’s definitely a goal for us and me. For me personally I would love to move into positional coaching, playing linebacker I am sure I could add some ‘bits’ to it! I am just happy to learn from the people around me, I have so much to learn. I was never someone who would watch a football game to be honest until I moved from the USA to the UK!! Since then I have become football crazy!! It’s so weird!
The women’s game is surpassing the men’s game, we are going to keep building with the development days, the skills camps, etc. I hope that we are competitive at the Worlds next year. I think that is going to be huge for us. It will be sad, as I think after the Worlds we will lose some of our ladies – but there is the hope that they will bounce back into the coaching and give back to the sport in the way that it has given us all these opportunities. The next generation will be amazing!