Working in conjunction with Reach, the Rugby Football League (RFL) has launched a 'Women in coaching' project, to get more women coaching rugby league in community clubs – working in the 7-11 age band – and in turn retain more children playing the sport.
The project, which is administered through their ‘Primary Rugby League’ programme, has so far targeted the North West of England and was introduced via adverts on the RFL website and at regional club meetings. Surveys were subsequently sent out to those women who expressed an interest in the project – helping the RFL to better understand their philosophy and motivations for wanting to get involved.
From the returned surveys, invitations were sent out, inviting those interested to attend ‘meet and greet’ sessions led by Linda Low, the RFL’s ‘Women in coaching’ project lead. The premise of the sessions was a chance for informal discussions and questions around the project, as well as exploring what the women wanted to get out of coaching.
Attracting over 20 women from different backgrounds, including: students, social workers, primary school teachers and lecturers, most had a connection with local rugby league clubs and recognised the importance of their clubs within their communities.
Dave Rotheram, Head of Coach Development at the RFL also spoke at the sessions, explaining more about the project and why they were all together. This provided the group with an opportunity to understand what was expected of them and ask any further questions.
“Currently only 4% of qualified rugby league coaches – 280 in total – are women, even though 42% of people who say they are interested in Rugby League are women; which equates to 6.4 million women.
“The RFL wants to grow participant numbers by 5%, year on year and reduce the drop-out rate of children playing rugby league. The project therefore will guide these women and others, to an appropriate qualification and provide on-going support from both the RFL and within their own club environment,” said Dave.
Sarah Milner, Sports Coach UK’s Diversity and Inclusion Lead and attendee at the ‘meet and greet’ sessions said,
“The groups mixed really well and spoke animatedly about what they wanted to get out of their new roles. There was clearly a great deal of passion and excitement in the room. A sense of them being able to give something back to their clubs.
“A lot of the women wanted to get involved for a variety of reasons: ‘supporting their club’, ‘bringing a different perspective to rugby for children’ and ‘to empower themselves’. What the ‘meet and greet’, and indeed the project shows is there is an appetite for women to want to get involved in coaching rugby league.
“I’m excited to be supporting the RFL in running this programme, the long term goal of which is to create a culture change within the sport, by encouraging more women into coaching,” said Sarah.
Reach is a national campaign run by Sports Coach UK and is supported by many sports organisations around the UK. The campaign focuses on supporting more women into coaching by highlighting the profession as an opportunity open to all women from all backgrounds and works with sports and physical activity partners around the UK to create more inclusive coaching systems.
Further information on Reach can be found on: reachintocoaching.co.uk.
Sports Coach UK
Sports Coach UK’s vision is to put coaching at the heart of sport, driving the development of coaching at all levels.
Sports Coach UK specifically:
* Champions and drives policy and investment in sport
* Supports and challenges our Partners to improve their coaching systems
* Provides products and services to support our Partners and their coaches
* Provides research and shares good practice to benefit coaching
* Ensures we are an effective UK coaching agency through high quality leadership, good governance and a skilled team.
In England, we support the National Governing Bodies of sport and the County Sports Partnerships. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, we work with the three Home Country Sports Councils.
Further information on Sports Coach UK can be found on our website: www.sportscoachuk.org.