Hannah hopes her story inspires more females in Wigan to take part in football and to develop their coaching skills.
- Coaching Week 2018 is a celebration of #GreatCoaching in the UK.
- Latics have worked with over 400 girls during the past 12 months.
- A total of 13 sessions a week are delivered across Wigan Borough.
“It can be difficult sometimes when you’re a female coach because football is predominantly male orientated, so from my perspective I’ve just had to throw myself in there, believe in my abilities and remember the reasons why I’m in the game I love so much,” the words of Women and Girls Sports Engagement Officer Hannah Hipkin-Steele during UK Coaching Week 2018.
Hannah, who works for Wigan Athletic Community Trust, has engaged with over 400 girls in schools throughout the borough during the past 12 months, and hopes her knowledge and expertise will encourage more females to take part in football, be that for enjoyment or as a career.
Funded by the Premier League, the Trust’s Girls Football programme sees her deliver 13 sessions a week at secondary schools, grassroots football clubs and youth clubs across Wigan.
To celebrate UK Coaching Week 2018, which takes place from Monday 4th June to Sunday 10th June, we spoke to Hannah to learn more about her passion for coaching and her advice for girls seeking future employment in football or sport.
She said: “I work with a number of girls in Wigan on a weekly basis and provide them with the opportunity to play football and develop their skills. I encourage them into the sport and then aim to make them as good as they possibly can be so they’re improving all the time.
“Football is in competition with so many different sports these days and sometimes girls aren’t interested in playing the game, so the task for me is to try and keep the sessions fun when they do take part and to let them play with their friends wherever possible.
“Even if football isn’t their favourite sport, they key thing is that you’ve got to relate to the participants you’re working with no matter what age they are or how good they are.
“If you’ve got good mannerisms with them and you can have fun with them then you build up a special bond with the people you’re working with.
“What’s also important to remember is that you don’t always have to be improving somebody’s sports skills, you may be helping them with their confidence and self-esteem which is just as vital.”
Discussing her route to becoming a football coach, Hannah explains that a serious injury curtailed her career at a young age, so she turned to coaching to help others.
“I started playing football when I was really young but there wasn’t many opportunities for me at the time. Unfortunately I picked up a nasty injury and that’s what really got me into coaching because I couldn’t play anymore but I knew I definitely wanted to stay in football.
“I volunteered for a period of time and then gained my FA Level 1 coaching badge before completing the Level 2 when I was 16, so I started out at a really young age.
“I’m quite proud of how quickly I managed to do everything because there wasn’t many females back then with those sort of qualifications at that age. Gender shouldn’t matter in football and coaching is just the same, so just go for it and do your best because that’s what I did.”
Two SSE Wildcats centres have recently opened in Wigan and Leigh for girls aged 5-11 to play football for the first time, an initiative Hannah is particularly proud of.
“I wanted to make a difference to younger girls across Wigan because there weren’t many opportunities for them if they were under the age of 11.
“The SSE programme has been amazing and we’ve had a lot of girls taking part each week, most of them novices who have never played the game before.
“It’s great that we’re giving them that chance to play football because if the project wasn’t around then they wouldn’t be taking part in the game."
For more information about UK coaching week, please click here.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01942 318090 for more information about Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Girls Football Programme.