lottie weeks - bristol rovers womens coach

Gameplan For Growth Review - Coaching Review

Read Lottie's Experience of her Coaching Journey


Launched in March 2017, the strategy pledged to tackle ambitious targets to double participation [by doubling the number of affiliated teams], double the game’s fanbase and create a high-performance system and world-class talent pipeline for England teams to achieve consistent success on the world stage.

After four seasons the strategy is now concluding, and in the coming months The FA will outline its continued support for women’s and girls’ football with the launch of the 2020-2024 strategy.

This week reviews The Gameplan for Growth’s positive impact on the recruitment and development of coaching in the women’s and girls’ game.

The Gameplan for Growth committed to ‘increase the number and diversity of women coaching the sport at all levels’ by developing The FA’s coaching structure.

Have a read of the experiences of Lottie Weeks, Gloucestershire FA Coach, participant in The FA’s Women’s High Performance Football Centre [WHPFC] Mentee Programme and newly appointed Assistant Coach at Bristol Rovers Womens.

“The biggest support I’ve had since I started my coaching career has been from the Gloucestershire FA and more specifically from Abbie Sadler [WHPFC Coach Development Officer] who I have been working with through The FA’s WHPFC Mentee Programme. With the help of the Gloucestershire FA and my work place Shine, I have been given so many more opportunities since moving to Bristol than I would have had previously.

Since I’ve started on my coaching career journey, the opportunities for female coaches entering at a grassroots level have improved significantly. The FA Wildcats programme has been a great starting point for female coaches.  Wildcats is a participation programme, which offers 5-to-11-year olds an opportunity to experience football for the first time. It has allowed female coaches to flourish in an environment that they feel comfortable coaching in. I have seen first-hand how the girls only sessions have really improved the confidence and given many female coaches the push-start that they need to follow their passion of coaching.

As part of my coaching journey, I was doing my Level 2 coaching badge and was in frequent contact with the Gloucestershire FA. My contact there introduced me to the Gloucestershire FA Girls’ Development Centre and subsequently The FA’s WHPFC and this resulted in Abbie becoming my mentor. It wasn’t something I had previously considered; however Abbie has been great in encouraging me to join various coaching workshops and the one-to-one support she has provided has been extremely helpful with my development. Because of Abbie’s support, I’ve managed to create a lot of fantastic networking opportunities to share ideas and meet others on the same journey.

Since working with Abbie, I have been attending The FA Girls’ Advanced Coaching Centres [ACC] which are designed to support the development and progression of players in the South West and East of England. Coaching at The FA’s ACC has given me experience of working with different age groups, which will be key in my progression as a grassroots coach. It has also allowed me to work with Abbie to review the sessions I have held, evaluate the way I plan and discuss ideas with other coaches who are in a similar position. 

When I was at school I was the only girl that played football, so I never imagined I could have a career in the game, let alone as a female coach. Seeing the doors that have been opened and working with The FA Coaching Team has drastically changed my attitude on what I can achieve in my career. Looking up to the female coaches who are managing teams in the Barclays FA WSL or The FA Women’s Championship makes me realise this is a career I can choose professionally. The change in attitude is a breath of fresh air.”