8 December 2022

Leander’s drive to increase female coaches

Leander Club has committed to help increase the numbers of female rowing coaches in the UK, by sponsoring 11 of its athletes to qualify as British Rowing coaches. 

Only 10% of coaching positions within the high-performance sports community in the UK are held by women. Nearly 70% of rowing coaches listed on British Rowing’s website are male. In contrast, female rowers make up 46% of athletes in the sport. Leander Club is one of the first major rowing clubs in the UK to give equal funding to its men’s and women’s squads and is now supporting this drive for equality right through to the coaching level.

Leander Club is the most historic, prestigious and successful rowing club in the world, its athletes having won 127 Olympic and Paralympic medals since 1908. The club is the ‘next step’ for individuals from all backgrounds and corners of the UK who have been identified as having potential to compete internationally. Leander Club acts as a springboard to prepare them for selection for the GB rowing team. 

Now it has sponsored 11 of its female athletes to take a three-day British Rowing coaching qualification at Dorney Lake, home of the 2012 Olympics, to help increase the number of female coaches in the sport. These athletes are now qualified as Level 2 British Rowing coaches and able to secure paid employment in the sport.

Ross Hunter, Chief Women’s Coach at Leander said: “Since our decision to give equal funding to our men’s and women’s squads, we’ve seen the phenomenal positive impact that this has had. Leander Club is investing in this training in a bid to help increase the currently low numbers of women coaches in the sport.”

The course was being run by esteemed coach, Hannah Vines, who is Dorney Lake Rowing Manager and a British Rowing coach educator and assessor.

Hannah Vines said: “It’s a very positive move of the club to consider the holistic development of their athletes and not just what they can achieve on the water. Supporting their athletes’ development in this way will hopefully give them confidence in pursuing a career in the sport and giving back longer-term. It’s been a fun and engaging group and I wish the very best for in them in the future.”

Leander Club athlete Sophia Heath said: “Hannah Vines did a great job of delivering the course. It was engaging and was a great opportunity to chat with others looking to coach in the future. It was quite a special experience to be on an all-female course and I hope that in time we will see more women in the coaching roles within British rowing.”

Monica Relph, Leander Club committee member said: “Now that we are equally funding our men’s and women’s squads, Leander Club is proud to be taking practical action to address some of the gender imbalance we see within the world of coaching. Female coaches matter because they provide a visible career pathway for other young women and girls to enter the coaching profession, and as the statistics show, rowing coaching is dominated by men. This initiative aims to change that.”

The British Rowing course aligns with UK Sport’s long-term plan to address the current under-representation of female coaches at all levels of the talent pathway within the high-performance community.

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