GirlsOnlyUltimate in Vienna


  • Recruit new girl players
  • Support their development as players and young leaders in a safe environment


With the beginning of Covid-19, all sports suffer from the lack of young players, especially women matching players. In order to revert this trend the Viennese Clubs started a project called "GirlsOnlyUltimate", which tested some of the good practices identified in the EUGEM Manual, in order to Recruit, Train and Retain young girls in Ultimate

Case Study

The project started in the summer of 2020, when a group of Viennese Coaches started using the raw version of the EUGEM Manual. This project continued in summer 2021 as well as in the winter season 2021-22.

The goal of the project is to focus on recruiting, training and retaining girls between 11 and 14, so well before they reach the age of 16 to 18, where many studies show that the drop-out rate, especially for young women, is the highest.

According to the manual there are two in order to develop an environment, where girls feel comfortable, have the chance to develop strategies and finally stay in the sport also in mature age.
The first is the classic one each Viennese Team is following, that is, to have mixed trainings, where girls and boys younger that 14 play together. In this age the physical differences between the genders is quite small. By teaching boys and girls from the beginning a respectful relation with each other, it is possible to build a compact group that grows and sticks together also when the needs of the various genders go apart. Probably the most know example of this kind of approach is the team GRUT.

The second possibility is to have single-gender training. Various major sports like football have also mixed trainings until 14-15 years old, then they split the gender. In the past year also football invested a lot in the girls specific trainings, making the gender separation even before 14.

The Austrian Federation also follows the single-gender approach for the national teams and organizes every couple of months in the outdoor season training camps for young players. These camps are perfect to retain the girls, because they get the opportunity to network with other peers and additionally they are able to play in other roles and with more responsibilities than in the home (mixed) youth team. These camps are not suitable to recruit new players and happen seldom to continuously develop a player.

The Girls-Only Ultimate Trainings try to fill this gap, offering weekly training for girls, who are explicitly asked to bring friends to try it out.

The Viennese Girls Only Training and Hat Tournament

To attract new girls we produced flyers which showed a player making a long throw, which was supported to be appealing to young girls. What wasn't clear to us at the beginning is how import it is to have a and not only a digital one, that kids can bring home. You need the paper flyer former if you want to better reach the parents, that will eventually decide whether her daughter will be allowed to come to the trainings or not.

The flyers and the information material have been distributed to schools that already participated in the Vienna Ultimate School League and where we had some contacts. Most of the new girls that came to the trainings were friends of an existing player. In some occasions we have been able to recruit a whole group of friends, that just tried Ultimate in the Physical Education lesson and found it nice.

We also decide not to charge anything for the trainings, covering the costs with donations from Viennese Clubs and Sponsors, that found important to support a project targeted to bring more girls into sport.

In 2020 we had about 14 girls pro training. 8-10 completely beginners, who wouldn't have come to the idea of joining a mixed ultimate club. We had always 1 coach and 1 coach assistant, to be able to closely follow each player and to make smaller groups according to the age or the skill level.

One positive side effect was that we exclusively asked female coach assistants to lead the trainings. In these ways also these female leaders had the possibility to improve their coaching skills in a very tolerant environment.

Unfortunately the lockdown stopped the trainings end of December until May 2021.

In 2021 we could keep about the half of the new players from 2020 and could integrate various new girls, mainly from existing youth mixed teams, who wanted to "be more among girls".

Finally in September 2021 we could run an outdoor season-closing hat tournament. The tournament was open to all girls, regardless the level. This was a great motivation to attend the trainings and some new players joined few days prior the tournament, in order to get at least a little bit of practice before the event.

In order to maximize the interactions among the girls and foster their networking, we opted for the "Queen of the Court" format.
24 girls, mainly between 10 and 15 attended the event. We rounded it up with a small party with the parents that brought food, take pictures and tried to throw the disc.

After the event the girls (and their parents) were so motivated that it was clear that we will look a gym where we can continue to train "Girls Only" also in the winter season.

Girls Only Training Group

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With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.