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Coaching Association Launches “We are coaches” for Women

February 8, 2006 (Ottawa, ON) — The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) launched a campaign called “We are coaches” designed to increase the number of women coaching at the community level from 5 percent to 10 percent over the next three years.

In the first year of the “We are coaches” campaign, CAC has partnered with three national sport organizations — Hockey Canada, the Canadian Soccer Association, and Softball Canada. A total of eight communities from across the country, each representing one of these sports, will participate in the first year of the campaign. Each local sport organization will set specific targets for its sport based on the needs of their community. The results will be analyzed and the program fine-tuned for subsequent years. CAC anticipates expanding this program to include at least 15 additional sports and many more communities in the second year and to increase the number of sports and communities again in the third year.

More than 95 percent of an estimated 1.2 million coaches in Canada coach at the community sport level. While the number of female participants in softball, hockey, and soccer is growing significantly, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of the coaches in these three sports are women. For example, in hockey, where 11 percent of registered players are girls and young women, only four percent of the coaches are women. In soccer, 42 percent of registered players are girls and young women, but only five percent of the coaches are women. In softball the percentage of women coaches is approximately the same.

CAC recently reached a significant milestone. Tara Christiansen, of Swift Current Saskatchewan was identified as the one millionth person to participate in NCCP training. Her son plays soccer and in April 2005 she participated in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) community coach workshop, even though she’d never played before. “I took the training because it was a good way to participate in my son’s sport in a more informed way,” said Christiansen. Her attitude is, “If you can make the time to watch, you can make the time to help.”

One of the goals of the “We are coaches” campaign is to double the number of women that are coaching at the community level in order to provide more female role models for young participants. To find more people like Tara Christiansen. As part of the initiative, the women will receive quality coach training through each sport’s NCCP community sport program.
“When I became Chair of the Coaching Association of Canada in November 2005, one of my personal commitments was to support the initiative to increase the number of women coaches in Canada,” said Jean-Marie De Koninck. “I’m pleased that we have selected Tara as the one millionth coach. She is an example of what we hope many other women can do at the community level.”

“Our research shows that qualified people often do not volunteer because nobody asks them,” said Lorraine Lafrenière, CAC’s Chief Operating Officer, and a community soccer coach. “And when they are asked to coach, many women decline because they think that they need expert skills. The strategy for recruiting women will reflect this research.”

“We are going to work with our community partners to appeal to women personally. We’ll ensure that there are women mentors or co-coaches for the new women coaches,” said Sheilagh Croxon, a consultant for CAC’s Women in Coaching program and former head coach of Canada’s synchronized swimming team.

A great community level coach puts the kids’ enjoyment and safety ahead of winning. The idea is to provide enough reinforcement so that the kids want to continue to be active. Whether coaches have the skills of a seasoned athlete or a novice, NCCP community sport coach training will supply them with the basic knowledge and skills to help them be great coaches.

This program is funded by Sport Canada and is supported by national and provincial sport partners.

About the Coaching Association of Canada
CAC is a not-for-profit amateur sport organization with the mandate to improve the effectiveness of coaching across all sports and at all levels of the sport system. Visit www.coach.ca for more information about coach education and training.

The Women in Coaching program is a national campaign to increase the number of coaching opportunities for women at all levels of sport. Since 1987, women coaches across Canada have benefited from professional development grants, National Team Apprenticeship Program grants, Best Practices grants, and National Coaching Institute scholarships. The program also develops resources for women coaches including the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching.

The NCCP is a training and certification program for coaches, in both official languages across Canada in 65 sports. The program meets the needs of a wide range of coaches — from those who introduce youngsters to sport to those who work with Canada’s high performance athletes. Since its inception in the mid-70s, more than one million coaches have participated in the program, which is designed to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to coach effectively.


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