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Free Women In Coaching Course proves a hit in Cairo

Last week, 14 aspiring female squash coaches qualified as WSF Level 1 Coaches after completing a fully funded Women In Coaching Course at Black Ball Sporting Club, Cairo.

The course, led by WSF Level 2 Tutor Ashraf Hanafi and WSF Level 2 Coach and Level 1 Tutor trainee Omneya Abdel Kawy and funded by the PSA Foundation, introduced the trainee coaches to the core principles of coaching, including scientific principles and effective communication methods.

Speaking about the course, Kawy – a former World No.4 and coach to Egypt’s 2022 WSF Women’s World Team Championship winning team – explained that despite recent improvements, there were still not enough women in coaching roles.

She added: “It’s my first time to tutor a coaching course and I was so excited to do it with Captain Ashram Hanafi.

“We’re trying to get more women into coaching and more women into the sport, playing, coaching and everything else.

“I think it’s a good step, they are all excited to be here. We all learned so much from Captain Ashraf and I hope it’s just the start!”

On why it’s important to have more women in coaching, she explained that particularly at the junior level, the needs of girls are often different to boys and a female coach can offer more understanding.

“It’s different. Women think differently to men, especially if you’re coaching a girl. You understand the psychology and physiology. Everything that happens to them, you’ve been through and they are more open to you and can talk to you more freely. 

“I think it’s the key to communicate with your players and open up. You don’t just talk about squash. You need to know her mood, why things are going good or bad.”

“For sure [we need more sponsored coaching programmes]. It’s very nice of the PSA Foundation to sponsor and pay for these girls.

“It’s very special now to initiate getting girls [to understand] it’s fine to coach and they’re going to coach and earn their money.”

Coach Shaden, 25

Coach Shaden, 25, completed the course and said afterwards: “This is a new journey for me and it’s a good one.

“It’s been very, very good to learn from someone like Omneya. It’s very great and I’ve learned a lot from her.

“The fitness session we just did now opened my mind to different perspectives on the human body. I didn’t know a lot of the things until today!”

“To be certified will open more opportunities for me, not just in Egypt but abroad, which is a good thing!

“I think we have a big opportunity to be as good as the men. In Egypt, the ratio [of male to female coaches] is more men to women but lately there are more female coaches. Especially in Egypt, we have a lot of very good players and as long as we train and become coaches we can be [equal] with the men as well.”

Coach Hana

Coach Hana, 17, added “I started playing at the age of 10. I wanted to get more experience, and knowing the mentality of a coach will help me as a player as well.

“When I grow up, I want to know how to give more information to players and how to communicate with them as a coach and a player.

“There are a lot of girls who are players and they have to take the opportunity to be coaches. To share their experience for other young players.

“It was important to have a female role model as a coach… a female coach can handle with me all the feelings, on court and off court.

“I enjoyed the course a lot, both [Ashraf Hanafi and Omneya Abdel Kawy] are legends and were were getting experience from them. It was amazing.

“I learned a lot from coach Omneya about mentality, and how having a solid mentality is the best thing ever. From coach Ashraf I learned how to communicate with young players and how to help them have the perfect basics of the game. Some of us can have the knowledge but don’t know how to communicate.”

Find out more about squash coaching at worldsquash.org.

Click here to learn more about the Women In Coaching Fund, or to donate.

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