Sport NZ is driving more development of young female leaders at the community youth sport level.

You know you are doing pretty well if you become famous on a first-name basis.

Richie and Dan did pretty well with that in New Zealand circles, but our female leader has gone next level, operating on a first-name basis internationally.


Jacinda has shown the potential power and effectiveness in the leadership style, of a high-quality female leader.

At the same time in the sporting scene, there have been a few issues over the past year or so at a high-performance level, involving female sports with male coaches.

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It's timely then, that Sport NZ is driving more development of young female leaders at the community youth sport level.

Given the quality leadership Jacinda has demonstrated, how can we convert more of our female population's potential, into more active leaders in our community.

In particular how do we grow more female leaders in sport?

Sport NZ are driving some good initiatives, including promotion of more females into governance roles.

But for the long-term sustainable development of natural leaders, one of the best ways has to be through coaching.

Playing the sport will certainly equip someone with a lot of knowledge and skills for future leadership – but coaching, being a leadership role, will help take them to the next level.

If we look around the average Saturday sporting scene, the numbers of female coaches still needs to be picked up.

Female athletes like Valerie Adams have made their mark on the world stage, but where are the female coaches? Photo / File
Female athletes like Valerie Adams have made their mark on the world stage, but where are the female coaches? Photo / File

Stepping up and starting out as a coach is no piece of cake, especially at high school level, but even intermediate and primary age can be pretty intense, and far more relaxing standing on the sideline offering advice while sipping on a latte.

To promote more leaders in our community, especially an increase in female numbers, sport is a great ready-made vehicle.

And we can all play a role during this winter season, from the young age groups right through to senior sport level, by making it easier for new leaders to get involved.

If we are in any way involved in sport, even just as a casual Saturday spectator, we can all play our part in encouraging young girls to start out and help with coaching.

If they are starting out their coaching journey with primary school kids, don't underestimate what a scary challenge that can be, so support and admire them for getting involved.

It might mean we adults have to be patient on the sideline, and not get hung up on whether the little kids are getting coached perfectly - because it doesn't really matter. In the long run, what is more important for the little players here and now is they have fun, and a young developing coach can often be better at that than the adult coach.

The higher-spec coach can come later. If we don't relax and let the beginner coach have a go, we will never grow the pool of coaches for the older age groups. If coaches aren't getting involved at the primary age level they are far less likely to at the more intense secondary school level, so let's get them on the bandwagon early.

The more young girls we can encourage into coaching now, the more great coaches we will have in the future. And our senior women athletes of the future will need them – whether it is just to help grow participation in senior level club sport, or if it is in a New Zealand high performance team.

Marcus Agnew
Marcus Agnew

There can be some major differences between men and women in the highly competitive situations, like the way the nerves and intensity of the situation can affects us.

Often women may laugh and joke around, which to the average male would seem like madness, and why aren't they getting fired up ready for action. It's not that one way is necessarily better than the other, just different.

So the more great female coaches we have in the future, the better, and who knows, some of those coaches will develop skills to transcend sport, and become our Jacindas in the future.

* Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and a lecturer in sports science at EIT.