The International Summer Sports Federations of Cycling, Rowing, Rugby, Tennis, Triathlon and Wrestling are cooperating to help develop the leadership and technical skills of high-potential female coaches. Supporting Recommendation 6 of the IOC’s Gender Equality Review Project, which seeks to increase the share of female coaches at the Olympic Games, the six International Federations have teamed up with the IOC through Olympic Solidarity to offer a 14-month programme for a limited number of high-performance coaches managed by the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy at the University of Hertfordshire, Great Britain.
The initiative began as a discussion between various stakeholders on how to address the consistently low percentage of women coaches at the elite level, and how to create pathways for these coaches, or women wishing to achieve this level as well as involving critical stakeholders at the national and international level to increase sustainability.
The aim is to upskill or reinforce strengths in the candidates and at the same time create a network to help these coaches reach their full potential as elite trainers and to be able to maintain a role at this level. The participants will also be encouraged to work within their national and regional settings in cooperation with their National Olympic Committees and National Federations to help others and raise awareness around females wishing to become elite coaches.
The Women’s Sport Leadership Academy for High Performance Coaches (WSLA HPC) has been specifically designed and developed for high-performance coaches, with the aim of preparing them to step up and become part of an increased cohort of female triathlon coaches at the Continental, International and Olympic level.
The ITU was chosen to be one of the first International Federations to take part in this project due to its existing initiatives around women in triathlon coaching. The five names selected for the first programme are Kate Murray (RSA), Ljudmilla Medan (Serbia), Najila Aljeraiwi (KUW), Pamela Fulton (ZIM) and Pooja Chaurushi (IND).
ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado said; “The ITU has long been proud of the gender equality in the very DNA of our sport. We do, however, recognise the continued need for more elite-level female coaches and have already put several initiatives in place to try and address that shortage. As such, we are grateful for this recognition of our work so far and the opportunity to collaborate further with the International Olympic Committee and all our stakeholders to reinforce that effort in what will be an incredible opportunity for those selected.”
The WSLA HPC programme will bring together a number of outstanding high-performance coaches and provide a unique opportunity and environment for learning that will support female high-performance coaches to further develop their:
• Coaching skills in a high-performance domain
• Leadership behaviours
• Confidence to progress their career path
• Negotiation skills and collaboration within the decision-making processes in their sport
• Influence at the very highest levels of the organisation
• Ability to advocate for themselves, their athletes and for the team of people they represent.
The first session of the pilot project will take place from 3 to 8 November 2019.