I never had an Aboriginal coach in Rugby League. That’s where part of the issue lies, I never had a basis or formation of what Aboriginal coaching looks like. I had no one from a similar cultural background that I could measure myself up against - in essence, I had no accessibility to a figure that I could look up to and emulate.
This is where Coaching Unlimited can become an integral part in increasing Indigenous participation in sport long-term. More coaches will breed more coaches as inspirational community leaders for Aboriginal youth. This is because Aboriginal coaches do more than coach - they understand and empathise with Aboriginal issues on mental, physical and emotional levels that can go a long way to ensuring a long term affiliation in sport. And that is what Coaching Unlimited has the power to do - provide more opportunities for Aboriginal coaches in order to make that impact that could improve a child’s quality of life, whether it be sporting or not.
Bou Ovington | Rugby League Coach | Darug man | Master of Teaching Student (Western Sydney University)
Congratulations on developing such an important initiative in Coaching Unlimited. Over 12 months ago, I watched one of your on-line lectures/ webinars on the inequalities that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face when accessing coaching opportunities and roles in Australian sport. It was an inspirational lecture and largely influenced the work I do at Athletics Australia. Since watching your webinar, I have focused more attention on providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with coach education and accreditation opportunities. We have strengthened our partnership with the Indigenous Marathon Foundation and have since accredited more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander coaches over the last 12 months than ever before! Last year we developed a 2-day coaching course specifically for Indigenous Marathon Foundation graduates. The feedback we received from their group was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that we are currently putting together another course that we will be delivering next month.
We are also near completion of an 8-week coaching education course for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students in Victoria. The participants have been incredibly receptive to learning the principles of coaching and leadership and have enjoyed the opportunity to test their new skills on local primary school students who can’t get enough of their enthusiastic and knowledgeable coaches.
Finally, we have identified a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing in their communities to become “Athletics Leaders”. It is our intention to support them over the next year to develop their coaching skills and embed the sport of athletics in their communities. Our Athletics Leaders will be empowered to drive their own learning and development in a supported environment through accreditation, professional development and mentorship.
Bridgid Junot | Former Indigenous Participation Coordinator | Athletics Australia