The Coach like a Woman project in racket sports led by the Finnish Coaches Association will be implemented during 2022-2023. The project utilizes measures, previously tried and tested in other projects, to promote equality within coaching. The Coach like a Woman project has been executed before in ball sports (autumn 2018 – 2019) and in combat sports and weightlifting (2020-2021). The project is financed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Racket Sports 2022-2023
The Coach like a Woman project led by the Finnish Coaches Association was successfully executed during 2013-2019 in team ball sports and 2020-2021 in martial arts. Now, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the development of equality in coaching will be continued in racket games in 2022-2023.
The sports associations committed to the racket sports project together with the Finnish Coaches Association are the Finnish Padel Federation, the Finnish Table Tennis Federation, the Finnish Badminton Federation, the Finnish Squash Federation and the Finnish Tennis Federation. In addition to sports federations, the project is further supported through the Professional Coaches of Finland (SAVAL), the Finnish Olympic Committee and the Finnish Paralympic Committee.
The main goal of the project is to increase the total number of female coaches, and especially the number of high-performance coaches, as well as to support and create a support network for female coaches who are already active.
This main goal is taken forward through two key focus areas.
1. We encourage women to increase their skills through national and international training either as coaches or coach developers.
2. We support the commitment of female coaches to club activities and the progress of equality in club environments.
One of the main focuses of the project is to train and support women as high-performance coaches and coach developers. Current female instructors and coaches are encouraged to participate in 2nd and 3rd level coach trainings and international trainings. In addition to the sports federations' own training, the project utilizes the Finnish Coaches Association’s From Athlete to Coach (AtoC) training. It supports the transition from athlete to coach and encourages to participate in further training and take on more demanding coaching tasks.
The visibility and effectiveness of the project at the local level will be increased through social club evenings. The skills, continuation as a coach and staying involved in the sport of female coaches already active is supported through mentoring. As a new measure, a network of racquet sports experts will be established, where the most famous female coaches of the project sports will be invited to support the planning of the project activities and act as role models in the project's activities.
Combat Sports 2020-2021
The sports federations committed to the Combat Sports Coach like a Women project together with the Finnish Coaches Association are the Finnish Judo Federation, the Finnish Karate Federation, the Finnish Muay Thai Federation, the Finnish Fencing and Pentathlon Federation, the Finnish Boxing Federation, the Finnish Wrestling Federation, the Finnish Weightlifting Federation, the Finnish Taekwondo Federation and the Finnish Taido Federation. Weightlifting cooperates administratively and functionally with martial arts and is thus also involved in the Martial Arts project. As the project progresses, other combat sports have the opportunity to join the project. In addition to sports federations, the project is further supported through the Professional Coaches of Finland (SAVAL), the Finnish Olympic Committee and the Finnish Paralympic Committee.
The main goal of the project is to increase the total number of female coaches in the project sports, and especially the number of high-performance coaches, as well as to support and create a network for female coaches already involved in the sport.
The main goal is pursued through two key focus areas:
1. To inspire female athletes who are former athletes or at the end of their active athletic career to become coaches.
2. To encourage women already involved in the sport to expand their skills and take on new challenges; more women leading hobby groups will become coaches, and more current female coaches of competitive athletes will become high-performance coaches.
Combat Sports are a closely knit group of sports, which have collaborated in several projects during the past ten years. Especially organizing joined trainings has produced good results. Education also plays a central role in the cooperation that is starting now. It is the aim of the project to train more women than before at the 2nd and 3rd levels of coach education training and, among other things, in the From Athlete to Coach education training. Mentors are also trained for female coaches and female coaches are supported in mentoring groups.
In addition to training, regional low-threshold events open to everyone are organized in connection with combat sports competitions and other events. The purpose of the events is to attract more female coaches to the coaching path and to empower those already involved in coaching through success stories of role models and experts. Clubs also benefit from opportunities given through the project on how to get women involved in the activities.
Ball Sports 2013-2019
In past years, a similar project was executed and has increased the number of women in coaching through versatile and specific actions, and has supported female coaches in team ball sports. In order to continue this important work, part of the project activities will be directed towards martial arts and weightlifting, but the work for women in ball sports continues also in the future. Ball sports involved in the project have been football, handball, ringette, floorball, ice hockey, American football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, rugby, Ultimate and ball sports for the disabled.The project cooperation with the ball sports sports federations came to a conclusion at the end of 2019.
The project's activities from the fall of 2013 to the end of 2017 have been gathered in a photo compilation: