We continued with our second annual 10-week Macquarie Girls Football Skills Clinic which supports women looking to commence coaching, and girls looking to develop beyond the “performance and skill acquisition phase”.
Since first running it in the 2015–16 season with 27 players, we attracted 43 players for the 2016–17 clinic. We also expanded the number of coaches receiving instruction from one to three.
We offer the clinics to players between 7 and 11 years of age, and coaches over the age of 16, and subsidise the clinics to make them affordable for participating players.
The clinics—which were conceived by our women’s head coach—are based on the Football Federation Australia Women’s Football Development Guide.
Within our member zone, the head coach and other coaching team members had observed a shortfall of skills and ability among young girls within the football community. The number of registered female coaches has also typically been low.
Until now, there hasn’t been a program that facilitates a level of engagement that includes both female players and coaches, and we welcomed the opportunity to provide this to our local football communities in Lake Macquarie.
We have seen a return rate for this program of 18 per cent with overall player participation increasing by 159 per cent. The yearly increase in the number of players demonstrates the clinics’ success. Next year we will look to expand again to 60 players.
Feedback from parents and participating girls was positive and all participants involved in the clinics have continued playing or coaching.
From a coaching perspective, two of the coaches were promoted in the skills acquisition program and received higher qualifications from the program’s resources. These two coaches have now progressed further into the Northern NSW Football Women’s Premier League competition for 2018.