Friday 26 July 2019

Girls Sport

The Game Plan for St Joseph’s College Girls Sport

The challenges that female sport faces are not ringfenced to St Joseph’s College, but society in general. It is my opinion that female sport is entering an “industrial revolution” – a period of transformation. For many years there have been very few professional outlets in mainstream sports regionally, nationally, or internationally for women.

This means our daughters have not been brought up with the aspiration of becoming professional sports people; in turn this has meant that the professionalism of female sports coaches and semi-professional environments have not existed.

Throughout the last eighteen months the sports department has been evaluating the female sporting landscape and preparing a “game plan”, which will put our College at the forefront of changing the public’s perceptions of female sport.

Girls’ sport has been re invigorated with the appointment of Mrs Hare-Price, a former international athlete and student of both Millfield and Loughborough. Mrs Hare-Price understands the logistical and resourcing requirement to kick start a specialist female sporting programme. In addition to the appointment of Mrs Hare-Price we have formally acknowledged Netball and Female Cricket being labelled as Performance Sports, with the addition of Football in September 2019 and for the last academic year. We have also created periods for additional training with Mr Power (Strength & Conditioning Coach and Sports Administrator).

What “Performance Sport” means is that a greater focus is put into three areas: our training programmes, fixtures and coaching. To compliment this initiative; we aim to phase-in weekend fixtures over the next two academic years for our female student athletes.

I want greater parity and greater recognition for our female student athletes. However, to achieve this, the female sport programme needs to develop to focus on coaching, athlete development and competition, in order that all sports participation and performance, across the curriculum, is improved. This means that we must free-up midweek sessions to train further and then have weekend fixtures.

Hockey has not been included as a Performance Sport. The answer is straight forward; we will continue to play Hockey against our independent school counterparts. Our facility is second to none, however, we only have one surface, which does not allow for multiple games to take place simultaneously. This limits the College’s ability to host weekend block fixtures.

Hockey, along with a number of sports, will continue to be supported with participation encouraged throughout the year. Undoubtedly all College Sports will benefit from developments in our female sporting culture at St Joseph’s College. The fact remains that due to the size of the school, female student athletes will represent the College across most if not all team sports.

ITFC WSL Academy: This joint venture will dovetail the launch of the College’s very own female football programme, which will be led by Mr Eadie, Director of Football and supported by the ITFC coaching staff.

With your support we will change the female sporting landscape.

Mr O’Riordan

Assistant Principal: Director of Sport

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