De­liv­er­ing on two fronts

Sta­cia re­alised that you can grow your fam­ily and ca­reer, writes Fiona Bollen

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

YOU can’t be what you can’t see.

That line rings true in most facets of women’s sport and for Sta­cia Joseph, who played 42 games for the Hock­ey­roos and is now women’s coach at the Vic­to­rian In­sti­tute of Sport, it al­most stopped her from tak­ing the next step in her ca­reer.

Joseph is one of eight high per­for­mance fe­male coaches who took part in the AIS’s de­vel­op­ment pro­gram at the Com­mon­wealth Games.

It’s only since be­ing there, among other women in her po­si­tion and with men­tors Peggy Lid­dick (gym­nas­tics), Ellen Ran­dell (row­ing) and Tracey Men­zies (swim­ming), that she re­alised she can have her coach­ing ca­reer and grow her small fam­ily, too.

It’s a dif­fer­ent sen­ti­ment to when she fell preg- nant with her daugh­ter Char­lotte last year and thought she may have to give it away.

“I did for sure,’’ Joseph said. “I think, be­cause there wasn’t an­other that had done it be­fore me. So I kind of didn’t know of any­one who had done it and it hadn’t been pub­li­cised.

“I’m still breast­feed­ing and it’s been no is­sue in mak­ing me feel anx­ious about that in that I can’t be at ev­ery­thing or do ev­ery­thing. They just said ‘do what you need to do, if you need to jump out of a ses­sion, no prob­lem, go feed then come back and pick up where you left off’.’’

AIS deputy di­rec­tor of per­for­mance peo­ple Dar­lene Harrison was sur­prised with what they learned in the pro­gram.

Though the num­ber of fe­male coaches for bench­mark events in Aus­tralia have stead­ied at 11 to 12 per cent, Harrison said the turnover of women is in­cred­i­bly high — about 70 per cent.

At the Glas­gow 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games, 90 per cent of coaches were male.

So, say, for sim­ple math­e­mat­ics’ sake, there were 100 coaches, only about three of the 10 fe­male coaches would have still been around at the Gold Coast Games just gone.

Their ses­sions dur­ing the pro­gram are help­ing them un­der­stand why.

“One of the things we re­ally ex­plored is women re­ally value net­works,” Harrison said.

“When they were at their most vul­ner­a­ble was when they weren’t con­nected and of­ten that was when they are trav­el­ling over­seas … it was re­ally im­por­tant they grow global net­works and broader ones.’’

Fac­tors such as pay and fe­male so­cial­i­sa­tion are big ob­sta­cles, ac­cord­ing to Harrison. But since their time on the Gold Coast, a fo­cal point will be en­sur­ing there are role mod­els and sup­port for these women so they aren’t lost to the sys­tem.

Sta­cia Joseph and Char­lotte. Pic­ture: Michael Klein

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