Rowing Ireland - Women in Coaching
As part of the Rowing Ireland Women in Sport Programme Rowing Ireland has created the WiC Network to give female rowing coaches in clubs around the country the opportunity to network and liaise with their peers and share coaching experiences, challenges and advice.
WiC Networks are an opportunity for female coaches from different clubs to come together to make new connections and support each other in their coach development.
Rowing Ireland plan to establish nine regional WiC Networks across Ireland. The Networks meet every 6-8 weeks with a national WiC Network Meeting planned for November 2020.
Why did Rowing Ireland set up the Women in Coaching Networks?
Most rowing clubs in Ireland have a small number of female coaches (on average one/two per club). The Networks were set up to enable female coaches of neighbouring clubs to get together and share coaching experiences, challenges and advice.
Lack of confidence has been identified as one of the barriers to women getting involved or progressing in coaching. The purpose of the WiC Networks is to provide a support setup in coaching that will encourage the coaches and give them confidence to develop. The Networks also act as a way of creating a link between Rowing Ireland’s Women in Sport (WiS) Lead and female coaches around the country.
What sort of information is shared/spoken about when the Networks meet up?
Questions/topics for discussion are set prior to the meeting. Examples of these include- challenges coaches face in their coaching, the benefits of having female coaches in their club, different learning resources and experiences. At the end of each meeting, a new topic or learning burst is set for the next meeting. For example; training programmes, physio input to training, rules of rowing. The leaders provide feedback to Rowing Ireland WIS Lead or request additional support – For example; a boat-rigging course, additional coaching resources.
What has been the benefit of setting up the Networks?
The Networks have created an ability for female coaches to voice challenges they face and provide support and advice to overcome them. There is a real openness and willingness to share information and ideas between coaches and across clubs. The benefit of the regional set up means coaches have support from those outside of their own club and feel they have a stronger connections within the rowing community.
Due to the bespoke nature of the WiC Networks, the groups are able to organise education and training sessions requested by the coaches. The WhatsApp groups provide positive support to the coaches and have resulted in the sharing of articles, podcasts and training ideas.
Rowing Ireland’s WIS Lead has also benefited from the WiC Networks. It has helped identify challenges faced by female coaches and highlight initiatives that will support their development. The WIS Lead now has direct contact with female coaches across most of Rowing Ireland’s clubs.
Aim of the WiC Networks:
- to highlight female coaching role models in clubs and to encourage women to get invovled
- to become sustainable so that each Network is led and kept active by the members themselves
- members develop skills and confidence in their coaching
- members feel they have a stronger support system in their rowing community
What are the next steps for Wic Networks?
Rowing Ireland aim to have nine Networks established across the country by June 2020. Those established have become self-sufficient. The experience and knowledge base of the coaches involved supports the delivery of different learning bursts for other coaches to benefit from, i.e. peer to peer learning is occurring.