The International Summer Sports Federations of cycling, rowing, rugby, tennis, triathlon and wrestling are working together to help develop the leadership and technical skills of high potential female coaches.

Supporting Recommendation 6 of the International Olympic Committee's, (IOC), Gender Equality Review Project, these six International Federations have teamed up with the IOC and Olympic Solidarity to offer a 14-month programme. This programme is for high-performance coaches at the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy at the University of Hertfordshire, Great Britain. Recommendation 6 seeks to increase the number of female coaches at the Olympic Games.

The initiative began as a discussion between various stakeholders on how to address the consistently low percentage of women coaches at the elite level. It also looked at how to create pathways for these coaches and women wishing to achieve this level and how to involve critical stakeholders at the national and international level to increase sustainability.

The aim is to up their skills and reinforce strengths of the candidates and to create a network to support these coaches in reaching their full potential as well as maintain their roles as elite trainers. The participants will 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 women planning to become elite coaches. 

Photo of Zane Putnina, Latvia © FISA

The Women’s Sport Leadership Academy for High Performance Coaches (WSLA HPC) has been specially designed and developed in cooperation with World Rowing. The aim is to prepare coaches to be part of an increased cohort of female coaches at continental and international regattas and Olympic Games.

The World Rowing Federation, FISA, was chosen to be one of the first International Federations to take part in this project due to FISA’s existing initiatives around women in coaching.  Coaches from Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Latvia and Tunisia have been selected in coordination with their National Federations and National Olympic Committees to take part. 

Photo of Emma El Bennay, Egypt © FISA

Jean-Christophe Rolland, FISA President expressed his full support for this project along with the FISA Vice-President and Canadian Olympic Committee President, Tricia Smith. 

"We appreciate and are excited for this opportunity to work together with the International Olympic Committee, the National Olympic Committees, other International Federations and the National Federations around the development of these talented female coaches," says Smith. 

Photo of Ibtissem Trimech, Tunisa © FISA

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:

  • Coaching skills in a high-performance domain
  • Leadership skills and strategies
  • Career path planning
  • Understanding the decision-making process in their sport and where changes can be made, including at the very highest levels of the organisation
  • Negotiation skills and collaboration techniques
  • Advocacy skills 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.