Coaching Association of Canada

CAC Report Confirms Program’s Value

September 16, 2010

A new report evaluating the impact of the Coaching Association of Canada's (CAC) “Women in Coaching Canada Games Apprenticeship Program” reveals statistics that demonstrate the program's success in breaking down some barriers female coaches face in pursuing a coaching career.

A partnership between CAC, the Canada Games Council, provincial/territorial governments, Sport Canada, and the provincial/territorial sport organizations, the program, which has been offered in 2005, 2007, and 2009, has to date involved 61 coaches in 24 sports, coming from all 10 provinces and two of the territories.

The report zeroed in on 10 areas of concern: lack of salary; family commitments; lack of financial support; lack of opportunity to advance; lack of respect from peers or administration; lack of female role models or mentors; lack of self-confidence in coaching ability; lack of peer support; lack of educational opportunities; and difficulty in adapting to their sport's male culture.

On the plus side, 67% of the coaches said that, overall, the program advanced their coaching. Specifically, 85% cited being able to acquire more coach education through CAC's National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and networking opportunities; 80% benefitted from being able to observe other coaches; and 55% profited from mentoring opportunities. Also important were attendance at higher-level competitions, meeting female role models in sports other than their own, which led to increased confidence in their ability to coach, and taking a leadership role in Games' preparation.

“What is encouraging is the fact the 70% of the apprentice coaches are coaching and 89% of those currently not coaching intending to return to coaching, which translates into an attrition rate of only 3%,” says Sheilagh Croxon, consultant to the Women in Coaching program. “Given the report's findings, we remain optimistic that, coupled with increased recognition by the Canadian sport system of the value of the coach, more and more women will be given the opportunity to pursue a career in coaching.”

Also noteworthy was the finding that 96% of the respondents have post-secondary education, a figure considerably higher than the 75% reported in the “Study on the Status of Coaches in Canada”, released in June 2009. “This figure indicates that women are poised for career advancement should coaching opportunities become available,” says Croxon, adding that 74% of the apprentices increased their NCCP level since starting the program. While laudable, the fact remains that only 23 of the coaches are certified Level 3, the minimum requirement for a Canada Games coach. “The Women in Coaching program is working with CAC and each national sport organization to identify and remove barriers to women accessing advanced certification,” says Croxon.

Of factors that cause concern, lack of salary tops the list. According to the report, 87% of the coaches earn less than $10,000 annually, only 13% coach full-time, and 50% remain unpaid volunteers, despite improving their NCCP certification and gaining experience at the Canada Games. Close behind are job advancement, with less than one-half of the coaches moving ahead after the program ended, and salary increases, with only 17% progressing in this area. Of note, however, is the fact that the coaches measured career advancement by the value of the experience, improved certification, networking, improved coaching skills, and peer support rather than the more traditional markers of salary and position.

Says Croxon: “While progress is being made, the findings of this report reinforce the fact that there are simply not enough professional coaching positions. If we want women to pursue a career pathway in coaching, more professional working conditions must be created. That is our next challenge.”

For the full report, contact Isabelle Cayer at or 613.235.5000., ext. 9-2376.

About the Coaching Association of Canada
The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) is a not-for-profit amateur sport organization with the mission of enhancing the experiences of all Canadian athletes through quality coaching. CAC and its partners deliver a leading-edge coaching system whose goal is to have an impact on 1,000,000 athletes through the training of 100,000 coaches each year in the National Coaching Certification Program. Visit for more information about coach education and training.

About CAC's Women in Coaching program
The Women in Coaching program is a national campaign to increase the number of coaching opportunities for women at all levels of sport. Since 1987, women coaches across Canada have benefited from professional development grants, NTAP grants, and National Coaching Institute scholarships. The program also develops resources for women coaches including the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching.

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For more information, contact:

Sheilagh Croxon
Consultant, Women in Coaching Program
Coaching Association of Canada


Isabelle Cayer
Coaching Consultant, Women in Coaching
Coaching Association of Canada
613-235-5000, ext. 9-2376


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