Coach like a Woman - Finnish Coaching Development Program for Women

I have had the honour to be part of the coach like a women project in Finland. First I was a participant and later on also deputy of the Finnish Flying  Disc Association when Ultimate was accepted to be a part of the project.  

What were the main goals of the project? 

This project was run by the Finnish Coaches Association and funded by the Finnish government since 2014. This was specified for ball sports and the project ended in 2019. Now this same pattern is used in martial arts. Let's look at some statistics first.  

  • Around 30 % of all coaches in Finland are women  
    • 13 % of ball sports coaches 
  • 22 % of all professional coaches are women in Finland 
    • 0-6 % of ball sports coaches 
    • except volleyball 15 % 

We can clearly see that all over numbers are pretty low but specifically numbers in ball sport are even lower. Behind this are multiple reasons but one of the biggest is still the attitude. Women can be easily a head coach of a national team in the women's division but how often do you see women coaching any men’s team, especially at a high level. Instead of speaking a lot of coaching methods this project focused more on the big picture. Basically, this means actions that will increase the number of female coaches. 

The main goals of this project were: 

  • Increase the number of female coaches 
  • Create or clarify the path from player to coach 
  • Create network 
  • Create new actions 
  • Increase awareness of equity in sport 
  • Increase know-how 


The actions were categorised as meetings with other coaches, mentoring, education, and top coaches meetings. I took part in some meetings and have to say that those were such a great experience. Usually, one meeting lasted one weekend and almost all costs were covered by the project.  The main goal of these meetings was to inspire people, discuss their feelings and challenges and of course, learn from each other. Every time there were a few telling their own story. It is extremely inspiring when someone tells the story of how to get to the top speakers despite all the obstacles.  Of course, it is not the target that everyone has to fight to get for example professional coaches, but those show stories show that it is possible.  And hopefully thanks to this project the way is a little clearer and easier for future ones.  

Speaking about the path, one of the actions was the education of the former players. This project had one group and the project paid half of the fee for this education. I think this action is a very important phase in the path because very often the former female players will disappear after they have ended playing.  

At the same time, it is good to increase the quality of coaching in ball sports. It is good to remember that maybe the even more important thing is to increase the overall number of female coaches and change their attitudes.

Results from FFDA point of view: 

We created a large network by participating in general meetings and top coach meetings. We saw how to create and improve our player-to-coach  -pathway. It was also important that we got information about different studies and important because you have to measure things your metrics want to improve. One of the most essential pieces of information was knowledge about funding available for us. 

Follow the EUF:
Any feedback on this page?
With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.