The FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre at St Mary’s University, Twickenham ran a successful workshop series earlier in the year under the theme What is Effective Coaching in Women’s and Girls’ Football?
St Mary’s is one of an exclusive group of nine universities in England to host an FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre. The Centre provides expert guidance and support, to help talented football coaches achieve their potential in the women’s and girls’ game. The Centre works with both St Mary’s students and external coaches in London and the South East.
The Centre is led by Jodie Whitford-Stark, who joined St Mary’s late in 2020. Jodie brings extensive experience to the role, having worked both in the UK and abroad for organisations including Chelsea Football Club, Anglia Ruskin University, and Watford Football Club.
Coaches were invited to join the virtual workshop series in January, which took place across four weeks under the central theme. The workshops saw 250 coaches attend and take part in conversations about enhancing coaching in women’s football, a subject that the University was commissioned to research on behalf of the Football Association.
Jodie was joined by colleagues working across the game to deliver insight and share their expertise, including Rebecca Sawiuk, former manager in the FA Women’s Championship, James Honeyman, Women’s Academy Manager at Arsenal Football Club and Craig McCreeth, Reading Football Club Women 1st Team Goalkeeper Coach, amongst others.
Jodie said, “We’re fortunate to have access to some of the best coaches working in women’s’ & girls’ football. We had some excellent guest speakers who shared information about their experiences, and the coaches attending the webinars had a fantastic opportunity to consider how to implement their learning into their own environments. Coaches were able to take away a lot of great advice from our guests, and they’re all itching to implement their ideas on the grass. We’re very grateful to each of the experts who gave up their time to speak to our coaches and support the development of the game.
“Joining the Centre gives coachews access to workshops like these delivered, as well as peer learning and networking, access to one-to-one mentoring and voluntary or employment opportunities. The great thing is, the Centre offers a personalised experience so you can fit membership around your commitments and wants or needs.”
Recordings of each of the workshops are available on request by contacting Jodie at Jodie.Whitford-Stark@stmarys.ac.uk. If you would like to find out more about the Centre and join, please visit the website.