I’ve always had a passion for sport, in particular the human body and what it can achieve! Growing up around netball/football clubs, I naturally become interested in football. Especially what made one team more successful than others and what aspects could be manipulated to improve performance. After working in the Australian Football League/ North Eastern Australian Football League (AFL/NEAFL) system, I noticed there was a major gap between elite, semi-elite and local level football in terms of high performance. The knowledge on how to properly train a player without under or over training was a key area that could be improved on, and my focus was to incorporate this to help minimise the risk of injuries throughout the season.
In a male dominated sport, being the only women in the room is a barrier I’ve had to overcome. My advice to any young person wanting to break the norm would be to ‘be yourself’ and ‘trust yourself’. When at a sports science conference, I was one of the youngest (and also one of the only females), I walked straight up to the ‘big dog’ of the industry, introduced myself and shared my vision. I obviously made an impression as months later I was invited to a meeting, which turned into work placement, then an internship, then a paid role at the club. If I didn’t step out of my comfort zone that day, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had now! Believe in your dream and don’t let anyone stop you.
Whether at a conference or working with a male sports team, I had to work extra hard to make myself heard and respected. Then there are little things like no female bathrooms, which is still an issue at most male dominated sporting grounds.
For clubs to be more diverse, they need to be open minded – gender plays no part in ability. By holding on to rigid gender roles, you may be eliminating people that are the best fit for the job. Some teams take a second look or make comments when they notice a female warming up the male senior squad on game day, which is something that needs to be changed – I want to help change that.
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