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August 31, 2012

Emerging from Drexel University in Philadelphia this past year are two new projects designed to support women coaches and aspiring coaches. Dr. Amy Giddings, Sport Management Assistant Teaching Professor at Drexel, launched the "Women's Coaching Blog" and the "Women's Coaching Network" to help sport administrators recruit and retain women coaches.

Research indicates that the number of female head coaches has been extremely limited, despite the growing participation of women in sports since the passage of Title IX in the 1970s. Through "Women in Coaching," Giddings is seeking to delve deeper into the current state of coaching, as well as to provide concrete methods to recruit women in coaching positions at every level -- from youth sport to professional sport.

The Women in Coaching Blog serves as a source of information for women who are interested in coaching, currently coaching or retiring from coaching. It is a chance for women to learn more about the issues they face and how these issues are experienced in a broader, more universal way. The blog is also valuable for those who mentor or supervise women coaches to gain a better understanding of the unique gifts women bring to the coaching profession and the challenges they may encounter along the way. Sport Management professors, coaches, athletic administrators and women in sport have contributed posts to spark debate and create a community with a shared purpose in supporting women coaches.

And the blog is not just for women in sports. The blog's contributors address coaching-related issues with solutions that are applicable both within and outside of sport. For example, one recent post was titled, 3 Reasons Why Initiative is the Antidote to Fear of Failure."

The Women's Coaching Network (TWCN) is an online video news network, developed to create awareness of current female coaches and encourage other females to consider coaching as a career. Female coaches do not have as much media exposure as male coaches, and The Women's Coaching Network seeks to change that. It debuted in April 2012 with Season 1 of Real Women of Coaching -- Collegiate Edition.  

Each video features a woman coach who shares a personal story about her history and experience in coaching and what coaching means to her. Among those appearing on the videos are Coach Cindy Griffin, Head Women's Basketball Coach of St. Joseph's University; Coach Linda Muri, Assistant Coach Lightweight Men's Rowing of Harvard University; and Coach Traci Green, Head Women's Tennis Coach of Harvard University.

"I have always felt that we need to see women coaching. Girls don't see women in a coaching capacity on TV or in popular media outlets so we are hoping to fill that void.  If young girls see examples of women who coach and love to coach, they just might give it a try themselves," said Giddings.