Women Coaching Sports: A New Educational Series

8 07 2009

Currently I am working on developing the first Women Coaching Sports workshop. Research shows female athletes who have never been coached by a female often believe that male coaches are more competent than female coaches. In the absence of female coaches and role models, female athletes may devalue their own abilities, accept negative stereotypes, fail to realize their potential, or consider coaching as a viable career path. In addition, research indicates that coaches cite formalized mentoring as the most important factor in their acquisition and development of coaching knowledge and expertise. Less than 20% of all youth sport coaches are female, and many female coaches face personal, familial and structural barriers that prevent or impede them from entering and remaining in coaching.

U of M coachTo help address these barriers, I’m developing an educational series for women who coach sports at the youth and interscholastic levels. Some of the curriculum utilizes ideas from youth sport mother-coaches I interviewed as part of a research initiative. The series mirrors the NACWAA/HERS Institute for collegiate coaches and administrators.

The purpose of the Women Coaching Sports workshop series is threefold:
1. To provide cutting-edge, research-based educational workshops for females who coach at the interscholastic and youth levels
2. To provide an opportunity for female coaches to build community, network, and develop on-going support for each other throughout their coaching tenures
3. To attract, develop, retain and empower diverse female coaches

The series is a collaborative outreach project of two entities at the University of Minnesota—the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport and the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium.

I would love to hear your ideas about content to include in the workshop series or ideas you may have. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting venture!





Why Mothers Coach

10 05 2009

iStock__mom coach soccer_XSmallIn a study where we interviewed mothers who were also youth sport coaches, we wanted to know why they were coaching. A majority of the time the primary focus, including my recent posts on female youth sport coaches, is on the barriers that limit or prevent mothers, and females in general, from coaching. So, in honor of all the mothers everywhere who spend their time and energy coaching their own and other people’s children—Happy Mother’s Day and thank you!

A major reason many mothers coach is because it provides time for them to spend with their child(ren). One mom said, “You know it gave us another chance to spend time together in a different way other than just being at home or being in a social situation, and so I really enjoyed it and she did, too. Even though she was the coach’s daughter it worked out.”

Mothers in our study coached because they saw a need for female coaches and good coaches in general, and felt coaching provided an outlet to share their experience, passion for sport and sport knowledge with their children. Mothers discussed the importance of providing positive role models—particularly for girls—and felt coaching was fun and rewarding.

Thanks to the many women—mothers and non-mothers alike—who coach our children and youth! You are the missing piece of the youth sport puzzle.