I opened my talk at the first annual CSCA conference last year with an apology and about a year later I am going to do the same with this short article. I will also end this with my final slide as it is still applicable. During the conference I highlighted the fact that in my 20 years of coaching, I wasn’t vocal enough in calling out some of the traditions that we tend to rally around as S&C coaches. The reality is, professional (paid) S&C, or even sport coaching for that matter, is relatively new in the grand scheme of things. The growth of both fields has been exponential, and as such we have clung to certain bedrocks in spite of the basic scientific principles and any form of logic and/or reasoning.
If we are to continue to build this industry we need to start looking at the history of what has been done so we can shape a better future for those we service. One such case would be looking at female athlete health and wellness.
Before taking on my current role, I worked in the private sector and about half of my clientele were women or girls. In my current role, both our athletes and myself are fortunate enough to work with the amazing women that led the Female Athlete Health and Wellness Symposium. Approximately half of our athletic population are women and about half of our undergraduate and graduate assistant coaches are women. I apologize that I have learned more about Female Athlete Health and Wellness in the last year than in the previous 20 years. I apologize that as a veteran in this industry I didn’t collaborate more with my female colleagues to get their input. I apologize that I likely avoided certain conversations because I thought they may have been uncomfortable. I apologize that as critical and skeptical as I am about coaches (myself included) being extremely biased that I didn’t see the fact that a fraction of the articles, journals, conferences, papers etc. have anything to do with half of our population. I regret that I made the assumption that women should be treated the same as men despite not knowing much about menstrual cycles or pelvic floor and breast health.
The impetus of this article is to encourage more research and collaboration in the way of female health and wellness initiatives. There is a vast amount of space for growth on this, and as practitioners, with boots on the ground, we have to be the start of change. We need to start having hard conversations with our staff, bosses and colleagues if we want to veer away from the old adage of “we have always done it this way”. I encourage you all to watch the linked video below to at the very least begin some conversations.