UEFA's Women's Football Competence Framework has established new guidelines for coaching tailored to the requirements of female players.
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UEFA launched the Women's Football Competence Framework with the twin goals of improving the standard of coaching in women's football, and creating more pathways and incentives for female coaches.
The framework’s core objective is to provide students taking UEFA coaching courses with greater insights into the demands and needs of the women’s game, thereby enhancing their competence to work more effectively with both male and female players. It also seeks to make courses more inclusive and attractive for female coaches, to enhance the visibility of women’s football within coach education programmes, to improve coaching in the women's game at all levels, and to increase the number of UEFA-qualified female coaches and female coach educators.
A coaching philosophy based on reality
The framework underlines the importance of tailoring coaching and coach education to the realities of the women’s game. It focuses on the physical and psychological aspects of coaching female players, highlighting the differences in growth and maturation rates between boys and girls as well as the variations in muscle mass development and injury patterns between men and women.
The framework also addresses the impact of the menstrual cycle on performance and risk of injury, and the need to create individual training routines for pregnant and post-partum women – both key topics at this year’s UEFA Medical Symposium.
In creating the Women's Football Competence Framework, UEFA worked with a group of experts led by Sweden’s Anna Signeul, who boasts an impressive 30-year coaching career in club and international football.
"The establishment of the framework reflects our current situation," said Signeul when addressing this year’s UEFA Coach Education Conference. "The growth of girls’ and women’s football requires a larger coaching workforce that understands the needs and demands of female players. UEFA and national associations will now be able to provide more inclusive and accessible courses for coaches to help improve performance in women’s football from grassroots to elite level."
A strategic priority for European football
The framework works in conjunction with UEFA’s coach development programme for women, a key pillar of UEFA’s five-year women’s football strategy. The programme offers scholarships for female coaches to take UEFA diploma courses, and has attracted over 1,600 graduates to date. It also provides technical support for associations in delivering coaching courses for women and a mentoring scheme that enables promising coaches to benefit from regular contact with experienced colleagues.
As women’s football continues to grow in popularity, the profile and reputation of female coaches is higher than ever. Since 1997, each UEFA Women’s EURO has been won by a team with a woman at the helm. On the club front, former youth international Marie-Louise Eta is breaking new ground with the Union Berlin Under-19 team, who debuted in the UEFA Youth League against Real Madrid on 21 September.
Since the introduction of the coach development programme for women, the number of female coaches with UEFA C, B, A and Pro licence qualifications has risen dramatically to over 20,000 – an increase of 45% in just seven years. To maintain momentum, UEFA asks associations to attribute at least 10% of annual intakes to female applicants with the required qualifications.
Meanwhile, at grassroots level, the Playmakers programme not only gives girls aged 5-8 a fun first introduction to football, but also provides an opportunity for women to gain coaching experience in an informal and low-pressure environment. With the right structures in place, participants will hopefully be inspired to continue their journey on the coaching pathway.
Learn more about the new UEFA Women's Football Competence Framework and how it relates to each of the coaching diplomas on the below link.