When Warren Abrahams was appointed as head coach to the Wales women’s rugby team in November 2020, it made headlines far and wide.
After all, he was the first coach from a BAME background to be handed the job of a national team coach in Welsh rugby, while his assistant was Rachel Taylor – the first woman to get a professional coaching role in this country.
So, it would seem a good time for the Welsh Coaching Network – a programme that had to be put on hold during the months of lockdown – to return with a focus on diversity, inclusion and equality within coaching across the spectrum of Welsh sport.
In a recent report that looked at diversity across Australian sport, researchers identified that while many sports organisations, clubs, and governing bodies have enthusiastically taken up the language of diversity and inclusion in leadership and coaching roles, their records of appointments and development are much less impressive. *
In other words, they talk the talk. But they don’t walk the walk.
The Welsh Coaching Network is an opportunity for coaching developers to get together and connect to share ideas and build a culture of collaboration.
That can be around performance coaching, or just improving the experience of participants at all levels, or, as with the current sessions, looking at ways to broaden the base of those who come into coaching.
Disability Sport Wales hosted a session on coaches approaching their role with an inclusive mindset.
The aim is to strengthen collaboration across different sports and inspire new thinking.
Simon Jones, governance and people development officer at Sport Wales, says: “Everyone is an expert in the technical and tactical areas of their sport, but it’s the bits around that we want to concentrate on.
“Sometimes, it’s the interpersonal skills we want to look at and develop and on other occasions it’s about improving the environment.
“It is about getting people into a room and asking how can we collectively develop coaches.
“There is so much good work going on among governing bodies and national organisations, so how can we share that? It’s about learning, connecting and developing.”