The first cohort of the SHEcoaches initiative have started their journey towards becoming the next generation of female talent and performance coaches.

Head of Performance Development Gavin Evans, Head of Pathway Development Emma Vickers and Performance Logistics Officer Evie Collier led the two-day camp at the University of Nottingham.

Sessions included an overview of the talent & performance pathway and designing sessions to facilitate performance behaviours by athletes and coaches.

There were theoretical and practical exercises, the latter including how to optimise multiball practice and a service workshop.

Other topics covered included identifying talent and what an average international event looks like for young players.

Emma Vickers said: “We’re incredibly pleased with how the first two-day SHEcoaches camp went, with all of the attendees thoroughly immersing themselves in the workshops.

“This is the first time we’ve ever brought together a cohort of female coaches operating primarily in the talent space, and it is great to see the community of practice that we have created between them.

“Myself, Gavin, and Evie were keen to create a series of workshops on Camp 1 that aimed to upskill the coaches on various aspects around our talent pathway, and educate them on some of the key projects we have been working on across the last year.

“Having a good understanding of the talent pathway, how our programmes and events operate, and the frameworks we abide by are essential learnings for coaches working to develop our champions of tomorrow.

“Gavin delivered two excellent practical workshops on multi-ball and service, giving the coaches a chance to put their new skills and knowledge into action, and then reflect on what they had learnt.

“We were also fortunate enough to be joined by three fantastic young female players from Draycott and Long Eaton Table Tennis club who helped the coaches with their practical tasks, and a sport scholar from the University of Nottingham who helped out with multiball demonstrations.

“Finally, we thought it was essential that the coaches had time to observe the Great Britain Training Squad who were training at the same time we were running the camp. The coaches engaged in an analysis session, where they were each given a specific player to review against a number of areas. This gave the coaches first-hand experience of analysing the skills of our best youth players across Great Britain.”

Alongside the camp, the coaches have already engaged in two online workshops with Everton Women FC’s Sport Psychologist Dr Alice Stratford. So far, the coaches have been tasked with reflecting on their own coaching super strengths and the critical moments that have shaped their coaching journeys.

In addition, coaches have learned about the important of the coach-athlete relationship and how to create a psychologically safe environment for their players. Further upcoming sessions explore how to support player development off the table and developing the coach’s mentoring skills, so that the cohort are able to mentor a new set of female coaches in the future.

What is SHEcoaches?

SHEcoaches is supported by SportsAid, which has invested £20,000 through its Backing The Best initiative to fully fund it for two years.

The key aims of the programme are to:

  • Build a pool of female coach mentors
  • Build a community of practice for female coaches supporting pathway activity
  • Produce the next generation of female coaches at the talent and national team level 
  • Provide increased opportunities for female coaches
  • Provide pathway exit opportunities for female players to progress into coaching from diverse backgrounds and coaching in low socioeconomic areas to engage in the talent and performance system
  • Spot female coaches with potential and support them to develop the necessary skills to coach at a high- performance level
  • Provide talent ID opportunities for girls – supported by an all-female coaching team

The coaches selected under the initiative are (in alphabetical order): Juliet Bertie, Emily Bolton, Gracie Edwards, Joanne Green, Emma Harradine, Rebecca House, Colette Neenan, Mollie Patterson, Eva Toth, Amanda Worne.