Tracy Whittaker-Smith named in UK Sport leadership programme to increase female representation in elite coaching - British Gymnastics

Tracy Whittaker-Smith named in UK Sport leadership programme to increase female representation in elite coaching

Tracy Whittaker Smith Rio 2016 Getty
Head National Coach for Trampoline, Tracy Whittaker-Smith is part of a new UK Sport leadership programme, a project which aims to more than double the representation of female coaches in the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community by Paris 2024.

The new leadership programme involves six of the best female coaches in the UK who will provide key support and development opportunities for the next aspiring generation of elite coaches.

The programme is made up of:

  • Tracy Whittaker-Smith – Head National Coaching for Trampoline
  • Paula Dunn MBE - Para Athletics Head Coach at British Athletics
  • Kate Howey - British Judo Head Coach
  • Mel Marshall - National Centre Loughborough Lead Coach at British Swimming
  • Bex Milnes - LTPC Lead Paratriathlon Coach at British Triathlon

Karen Brown, who spent over 15 years as a coach for Great Britain Hockey and England Hockey, will also be part of the programme as a mentor.

Over six months, the six coaches will provide a unique opportunity for other female coaches to learn from them, observe them in their environment and develop understanding of high-performance coaching.

UK Sport is working with Performance Directors, Coach Developers and Talent Pathway Managers within the high-performance community, as well as UK Coaching, to nominate female coaches who the group collectively agree have potential to coach at the Olympic and Paralympic Games at Paris 2024 and beyond. The nomination process will close shortly, and coaches will be finalised by the end of the year.

"I am really excited to be involved in UK Sport’s amazing programme to support and increase the number of women in high performance coaching," Tracy said.

"Understanding the factors and breaking down the barriers to creating a sustainable talent pool of female coaches is not only aspirational but forward thinking as the demand for high-performance coaching and diversity changes. I relish the opportunity to share my experience and passion and can’t wait to play my part in mentoring those women who can go on to achieve even higher levels of coaching."

At present, approximately only 10% of coaching positions within the high-performance community in the UK are held by women. The first target of UK Sport’s long-term plan is to ensure that by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, the number of female coaches available to Team GB and ParalympicsGB has more than doubled to 25%.

The leadership programme forms part of UK Sport’s long-term plan to address the current under-representation of female coaches at all levels of the talent pathway within the high-performance community. Significantly, increasing the number of female coaches available for Paris 2024 is the first target of this long-term plan.

CEO at UK Sport, Sally Munday, said: "UK Sport is determined to see greater diversity across the high-performance community and this programme will focus on seeing more women at the top end of high performance.

"Coaches, alongside athletes, are at the heart of our high-performance community and we firmly believe that a more diverse cohort of highly skilled coaches will help more of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes realise their potential.

"There are currently far too few female coaches operating at the highest level of performance and we are committed to addressing this reality and, working with our stakeholders, driving the change we want to see."