Dani supporting new female coaching initiative

Dani Parker
Dani Parker

Calderdale women are being urged to support an innovative project from West Yorkshire Sport which has been instrumental in encouraging more women to get involved in sports coaching and helped increase women and girls participation in sport locally.

Halifax Hockey Club’s Dani Parker is one of a raft of new female coaches being trained to support the ‘This Girl Can’ initiative which has trained 29 new female coaches across the county in partnership with the national governing bodies of canoeing, netball, snow sport and hockey. The coaches are now delivering female only sessions throughout the county.

More than 360 women have joined in the Back to Netball, Back to Hockey, Learn to Row and introductory skiing sessions which the newly qualified coaches have been leading with most of the activities set to continue and grow, allowing many more women to get active.

It comes during Women’s Sports Week – a week of activity aimed at raising the profile of women’s sport at all levels across the UK.

Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign launched nationally at the start of 2015 aiming to tackle the gender gap in sports participation, aiming to change perceptions and break down the barriers that research has shown discourages many women and girls aged 14-40 from participating in sport.

West Yorkshire Sport has capitalised on the campaign to tackle a similar gender gap in the area with females making up only a third of registered coaches in West Yorkshire.

Les Ford, coaching development manager at West Yorkshire Sport, said: “If we want to encourage more women and girls to be active, we need more female coaches and leaders.

“These can provide positive role models, more opportunities to participate and a supportive environment to encourage women and girls to get involved and keep active.”

Parker, 19, is working toward her first coaching qualification thanks to the investment from West Yorkshire Sport and is coaching at female only hockey sessions at Halifax Hockey Club.

“Coaching has improved my confidence and actually has spilled over into other parts of my life,” said Dani, who studies Sport and Exercise Science at Huddersfield University.

“It’s easier to make presentations as our confidence has increased by talking in front of people.”

Women and girls interested in finding out more about This Girl Can in West Yorkshire, whether as a participant or as a coach should visit wysport.co.uk/thisgirlcan.