The 2022 Inter-Provincial Championship has brought together the volleyball community at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington.
And while the action continues on court, outside the lines, VNZ have been using the opportunity to deepen connections with members and volunteers involved in our game.
Following the announcement of the Coach Development Framework in 2021, Volleyball New Zealand Performance Manager Colleen Campbell has been working hard behind the scenes at IPC with a focus on female coaches.
“We’ve been talking to our female coaches to talk to them about their experiences in coaching so far and how they see themselves in the pathway,” Campbell said.
“We’re looking to build relationships and begin to create a cohort of female coaches we can work with to design something that works for them as individuals and is understanding of their needs.”
One of the coaches Campbell has spent time with is Bay of Plenty’s Ella Carlsen, an assistant coach with the region’s U-19 boys’ side, who is also juggling commitments as a player this weekend with the senior women’s side.
But it’s clear Carlsen’s real passion is coaching – and the 20-year-old has valued the opportunity to korero this weekend on her story.
“It’s been great to have been heard,” Carlsen said.
“Having these moments where I can talk about it and people want to listen is great. Because not many people understand what it’s like being a female coach in this realm.”
Carlsen speaks passionately and openly about her experiences in the game, detailing how she regularly has dealt with bias and stereotypes – things which have influenced her journey so far.
“We’re slowly getting to a point where people won’t turn their heads as much when there is a female coach with a young boys’ side.
“Even in our region, I was one of the first younger wahine to work with the boys. I’ve had people first turn their heads and ask if I’m the coach and the not the manager.
“As soon as people understand I’m there for a purpose and I’m there to coach, they respect me in that role.”
Having lived that experience, Carlsen is well-placed to look ahead, and based on what she sees, the future is bright for women leading within the sport she loves.
“It would be great to see young female coaches go through the ranks, Carlsen said.
“There may be a small group of us, but that small group are talented enough to be able to take our coaching further.
“I think seeing us in those positions will inspire others to come through and follow in our footsteps.”
After IPC VNZ will shape an approach for further female focussed coach development opportunities over the next 12 months and beyond.
For more information on the VNZ Coach Development Framework – click here.