From the recreational level all the way up to high performance athletes, more girls and women are participating in sport than ever before. However, the number of female coaches seen on the playing field has not followed the same trend and it’s not for a lack of talent. Female coaches, or those with the potential, are an untapped resource in the sporting community.
Dawn Smyth and Carla Nicholls are both outstanding examples of the opportunities and success that female coaches can experience in sport.
Dawn Smyth is the Manager of Coach Education and Development at Basketball Canada. She’s coached both men and women’s CCAA teams, and stayed involved with the CCAA through their Female Apprentice Coach Program. Carla Nicholls works for Athletics Canada as a National Event Group Coach and National Olympic Development Coach. Carla was responsible for launching Athletics Canada’s Women in Coaching Program, and creating their Olympic Development Program.
How did each of these women become a success story?
Mentoring - Elite coaches involved with their sports were able to help cultivate their coaching skills and guide them to opportunities that would allow them to grow and progress.
Variety of Experiences - Dawn and Carla used a combination of their own athlete training, along with coaching experience from different levels of sport, and even some officiating to mold their coaching personas and learning.
Athlete Focus - Both women cited seeing the success and goals of the athletes come to fruition as huge motivation for what they do. This motivation fuels their desire to create programs that aid their athletes and also drives a need for continued learning.
There are various programs that are currently being promoted in Canadian sport that help women develop and achieve their goals. Opportunities and resources exist for women to become quality coaches, all it takes is for those women to choose to start coaching.
References Available from the SIRC Collection:
1. Blom L, Abrell L, Wilson M, Lape J, Halbrook M, Judge L. Working with Male Athletes: The Experiences of U.S. Female Head Coaches. ICHPER -- SD Journal Of Research In Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance. Summer2011 2011;6(1):54-61.
2. Cooper M, Hunt K, Camille P. O. Women in Coaching: Exploring Female Athletes' Interest in the Profession. Chronicle Of Kinesiology & Physical Education In Higher Education. May 2007;18(2):8-19.
3. Kidd B. Where are the female coaches? / Où sont les entraîneures?. Canadian Journal For Women In Coaching. February 2013;13(1):1-10.
4. Kilty K. Women in Coaching. Sport Psychologist. June 2006;20(2):222-234.
Norman L. Developing female coaches: strategies from women themselves. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Health, Sport & Physical Education. December 2012;3(3):227-238.
5. Reade I, Rodgers W, Norman L. The Under-Representation of Women in Coaching: A Comparison of Male and Female Canadian Coaches at Low and High Levels of Coaching. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. December 2009;4(4):505-520.
6. Richman R. Title IX: The Trojan Horse in the Struggle for Female Athletic Coaches to Attain Equal Opportunities in Intercollegiate Sports. Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal. March 2011;10(2):376-413.