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On Wednesday evening I attended a course how to reach and engage with young women age 16 to 25, what factor's to consider, what obstacles could potentially get in the way.
Being a mum of 5 I could relate to many obstacles that stopped me from taking part in some physical activities, eg, child care, husband stopping me, work commitments, home commitments, however I always found a way to overcome some of these obstacles. When attending the course I learned that many young women was feeling the same way and that there were many different reasons as to why they was unable to take part in any sporting activities.
During the evening we was give a couple of group activities to do, 1 activity was filling plastic cups with beads, a full cup represented the most important and a few beads or empty cup being the least important, we found that women found having fun was the most important and that competition was the least important.
The next activity was college/ university students what stopped them from being active.
This was really interesting to see what some students found most important, at the top of the list was drinking, socialising, gym or activities not being on the doorstep.
Having setup and run a fitness session for women at the beginning of the year I can see how women found it difficult to attend sessions, family,work,social commitments, it never once entered my mind that it could have been due to feeling over weight, shy,mental issues, abuse. Thanks to this course it has made me realise that there are other reasons for not exercising not just because you don't want to but sometimes you just can't.
I have learned that there is much work to be done to try and get women more active and to keep active.
Ladies and gents come on get talking
I think its important to keep everyone active!! From a personal perspective, a year ago I had my little girl - since then life has been geared around her!
Fitting in time to go to the gym hasn't been possible thanks to juggling commitments to her and work - and next week I throw university into that mix! I keep active through my job as a coach and fitness instructor. I don't begrudge not having the time though - at this point in her life she needs looking after 24/7 and is dependent on me and her daddy so she is the priority.
I find 16-25 is an awkward age group - as if you haven't been into sports as a child I think there is a lower chance that you will get into them at that time as there are so many other "distractions" (boys, socialising, drinking, learning to drive, going to uni etc). It's the time where they become a little more independent so engagement can be difficult - particularly if they haven't been active before. But, if you can find an activity which they love, then they will participate easily.
I know a good few university students who have been skaters with me before leaving and the majority of them have continued being active when away studying (which I think is mainly due to them hvaing sport in their lives when they were growing up). Most come back to skate in the holidays because they have a love for the sport and the people that helped mold them through their younger years which is great to see.
I think you have a valid point, being a busy mum of five, juggling work, house hold choirs, kids and coaching is a big commitment. I'm an ex athletes who still loves to exercise, I have kept myself fit throughout the years even when my children was younger putting them in a biggie and taking them for a run with me as I couldn't rely on my husband as he was an alcoholic and some evenings I would come home from a run and find him asleep and the kids running around.
young women in college or university tend to spend most of there time socialising, drinking as the young ladies pointed out on Wednesday . We did come up with a few ideas for them to take away that evening whether they choose to use them is a different story.
The problem young ladies are facing is not just being at university but teenagers with young children how do they cope with life. Do they get time for themselves to exercising. Drugs, alcohol, abuse. These are some of the many obstacles that young ladies of today face.
This is a very interesting, and far reaching, subject.
On a social level I think women are seen to be the natural 'home maker' and that family comes first, whether cooking tea or looking after the children. It's easy for dad to pop out to the gym, go for a run, etc whilst mum stays in and sorts the kids out.
On a personal level I firmly believe there is still a much larger group of females who are self conscious about their own bodies, or more importantly, other people's perceptions of their bodies, that puts them off getting actively involved, which for me is a great shame. We are all individuals and we are all entitled to be respected. I don't think the media help in this respect.
However I also believe good role models are appearing for females - for example the women's Engand football and rugby teams have been very high profile this year in male dominated sports, and of course the ultimate example of how to be a mum and a European and Commonwealth champion, Jessica Ennis!!
Did you go to the one in Sutton in Ashfield?
Kirkby in Ashfield, a sports venue sorry can't remember the name, did you attend this?
I think the most revolutionary thing for me was attending the Women in Sport Transforming Women's Lives training which brings up their research findings. In basic summary all women do all things (not just sport and physical activity) due to a combination of different values. These values boil down into 6 categories: Having Fun, Nurturing Friend and Family, Looking Good, Feeling Good, Developing Skills and Achieving Goals.
Some are more important than others at any given moment, in any given situation. e.g. in a sporting context, I took up golf because I wanted to have fun and feel good (I love it and it makes me happy), I fence because I want to have friend and know I know lots of the group be with my friends and I am learning Norwegian because I wanted to develop a new skill.
Because I work as a coaching officer I wanted to take this research and apply it to coaching, so I'm working with a university in London to use these 6 values to identify week on week what the individuals attending want.
I ran a course for the coaches to learn about the values and how to apply them to their sessions.
Now I'm watching the results (the participants and coaches are giving feedback, plus we have retention to look at) and I'm adapting the training to run again with a group of secondary school/college based coaches and I'll see what happens there.
I love the idea that anyone can be active for any given reason (who hasn't got a friend who goes mental in the gym for 2 months before their summer holiday!) and that those reasons change over time (joining rugby to be the support for a mate becoming developing skills 2 weeks later because now I love it and want to be better).
I'll keep you posted if your interested.
I can't believe this was a year ago, how time fly's . I would be very interested if you ran it again. I currently working with 16 to 21 year old living in homeless accommodation. I have been promoting the course only a week ago to work colleagues, if you do run this course again I would be really interested I would definitely pass on the information too.
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