Today officially marks the start of UK Sport’s new female coaches leadership programme with 27 coaches from 15 sports coming together as part of a plan to more than double representation in the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community by Paris 2024.
Eight coaches will lead a six-month programme for 19 of the most promising coaches in the UK, all of whom have been identified as having the potential to coach at the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games from Paris 2024 and beyond.
The 19 participating coaches will be offered key support and development opportunities, including times to observe an assigned coach leader in their environment The programme will focus on three key areas, leadership, environment and transition, all of which are fundamental to the coaching development journey. The 19 coaches and their pairings are:
- Kate Howey: Jenny Leeming (diving), Shani Palmer (athletics), Jo Ryding (alpine skiing)
- Paula Dunn: Nicola Benavente (rowing), Hannah Brown (canoeing)
- Jane Figueiredo: Christine Bloomfield-Harrison (athletics), Jody Kime (artistic gymnastics), Lisa Letchford (hockey)
- Mel Marshall: Leah Crane (climbing), Monica Greenwood (cycling), Sarah Kelleher (hockey), Coral Nourrice (athletics)
- Bex Milnes: Danielle Brayson (swimming), Naomi Johnston (cycling)
- Claire Morrison: Katie Arup (fencing), Lysa Jones (golf)
- Tracy Whittaker-Smith: Emma Trott (cycling), Laura Turner-Alleyne (athletics), Christy Mackinnon (alpine skiing)
Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “It is really exciting to see such a large number of coaches from right across our high-performance community involved in this programme. We have an amazing group of coach leaders, who are the trailblazers and the people doing it now, and the opportunity for the 19 promising coaches to learn from them – as well as each other – is going to be incredible.”
“UK Sport is determined to see greater diversity across the high-performance community and I know the role that I can play in championing this programme. I believe that each of the participants will become role models for the next generation of coaches and will truly enable us to reach our aims and ambitions for female coaches.”
“I want to be able to reflect back that this was a turning point of truly making our workforce, in particular our coaching workforce, in the high-performance community far more diverse and a lot more equal from a gender perspective.”
Kate Howey, British Judo Head Coach, said: “I feel very privileged to be selected as a mentor on the first female coach leadership programme.”
“For far too long there has not been enough women working in high performance sport, so to increase this number going forward is a great initiative and one I fully support.”
“I am looking forward to getting started and sharing my experiences with other female coaches within the UK sporting pathway and passing on some valuable lessons that I have learnt along the way to hopefully help them in their journey.”
Jenny Leeming, Diving Performance Coach at Edinburgh Diving Club, said: “I’m delighted to have been picked for the female coaches leadership programme. I think it’s excellent that UK Sport are looking at ways to increase the number of women working in high performance sport. I am very excited about working with my assigned coach, Kate Howey from British Judo. I hope to get an insight into other sporting environments and cultures, and to challenge my beliefs and practices along the way.”
Jo Ryding, Para Alpine Performance Coach at GB Snowsport, said: “It’s a huge privilege to be part of the first UK Sport female coaches leadership programme, which is enabling more female coaches to progress into higher performance roles within World Class Programmes. I hope we can become role models for more females to make the steps up the ladder in the future and see an increase in female coaches at the top level.”
At present, approximately only 10% of coaching positions within the high-performance community in the UK are held by women. The leadership programme forms part of UK Sport’s long-term plan to address the current under-representation of female coaches at all levels of the talent pathway within the high-performance community.
The first target of this long-term plan is to ensure that by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, the number of female coaches available to Team GB and ParalympicsGB has more than doubled to 25%.
UK Sport collaborated with Performance Directors, Coach Developers and Talent Pathway Managers within the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community, as well as UK Coaching, on nominating female coaches to be part of the programme.