“You can’t be what you can’t see”: AFL Canberra Celebrates Women’s Coaching Month

AFL Canberra is celebrating Women’s Coaching Month, with the month of July dedicated to the contribution of women in coaching roles and promoting the pathway to get more women coaching in all levels of the game.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” says Belconnen’s second grade women’s coach Sheridan Lockerbie.

Lockerbie spoke about the importance of female representation in coaching roles.

“I think it’s important for not just girls, but boys too, to see that women have a role in footy, not just in coaching, but in playing and umpiring,” she said.

“Society is 50 per cent male and 50 per cent female… you need that representation through sport and there’s just not enough of it.

“It’s so important that we continue to foster and try and get more women involved in coaching, as well as every other aspect.”

Tuggeranong’s second grade women’s coach Beth Matters emphasised the significance of recognising women in coaching roles through initiatives like Women’s Coaching Month.

“It’s important to shine a spotlight on women in coaching because we still have a long way to go,” she said.

“Initiatives like this help raise awareness of the gender gap in coaching while supporting pathways and opportunities for women to coach.

“It can be a bit lonely coaching in a male dominated sport and it’s reassuring to know that other women are out there paving the way and sharing their stories.

“Increasing the visibility of female coaches who continue to break down barriers and who are role models for more women to follow, will hopefully inspire others.”

In 2023, 86 women have signed up to coach in the NSW and the ACT who were not in coaching roles in 2022. However, there is still significant progress to be made in empowering women to feel confident in coaching within our sport.

“I understand how it can be a bit nerve racking,” said Lockerbie.

“If you want to coach and you’re not sure how to start, find someone who is coaching that you respect and see if you can learn from them first.”

“Even if it’s starting with the kids in Auskick, just to get an idea of what you need to teach them.”

We hope Women’s Coaching Month serves to acknowledge and appreciate all female coaches, while also inspiring others to pursue coaching in the future.  

“Coaching can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences if you have the right support around you,” said Matters.

“Remember to be yourself and give things a go.”