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for increasing
participation in
girls’ football
(aged 5 – 11)
This 5 – 11 help sheet will take
you through a number of steps
designed to assist you with the
recruitment of girls aged 5 – 11
who are not currently playing
football for a team. It will give you
an insight into who they are, what
they like and what they need
from a coaching session.
Who are they?
There are distinct types of youth female players:
High Engaged
Highly Engaged Girls
are likely to be playing
for a club in addition
to the school team. It
is this football beyond
just school provision
that seperates them
from the Semi/Low
Low Engaged
Girls who only
engage in footbll
as part of PE
lesson or just
for fun.
The Football Association want girls to TRY football, LOVE football and KEEP it as their sport of choice.
Where To Start
Step 1:
‘Ask local girls what they want’ – by gaining an understanding of your audience and their values you will be able
to tailor your approach to meet their needs. You can find out by speaking to girls at schools, engaging current club
players or creating surveys.
Step 2:
Identify where your training session will take place. Your venue will act as the centre of your target area; distinguish a
15 minute radius from this position. Locate all the schools, Football in The Community, community groups and nontraditional organisations, such as Rainbows, Brownies, Church Groups and other clubs that operate within this area.
Low engaged girls maybe reluctant to move to new environments, and may have many other activities to fit into
their week. You may need to consider basing your activity at a school site, playing indoors through the winter and
outdoors in the summer because low/ semi engaged girls prefer training when they are warm and dry.
Plan to deliver a block of after school sessions within schools which fall within your target area, If you are working
with younger girls from year 1 and 2 mixed or girls only sessions may be an effective way to engage with the low
engaged girl.
Step 3:
Discussions with your school will need to start at least a term before delivery commences. By delivering after school
sessions, the low engaged girl, can try football in an environment where she feels comfortable and safe. She may not
feel confident going directly to a club session, planning a change of location as part of your after school delivery will
support your recruitment. This could take two term times or more as it may take girls a longer time to develop a love
of the game.
Develop relationships with teachers at local schools as they have the trust of parents. If they say an activity is well run
and safe. parents are likely to consider it for their daughter.
Step 4:
Providing girls with an exit route is important. Some girls may want to play at grassroots clubs, so look to establish a
relationship with existing girls teams, likewise teams that don’t have girls sessions can signpost girls to you. You can
find about clubs here.
Remember some girls are happy to continue to just play recreationally, at school in break time, in the park and at
weekends too.
Step 5:
How to market
and promote.
When building your team, it is important to involve the girls with this process. Having a role and feeling a sense
of belonging are key fundamentals to driving success. The girls will enjoy helping to choose a team name, a logo,
a slogan and picking their kit. Limehouse Laces Girls FC have a great slogan ‘This is what football looks like’. Their
website is here
The Women in Sport Marketing Toolkit can be used as an additional resource. It provides top tips on marketing sport
and physical activity to women and girls. Your County Sports Partnership is an additional network you could access
for support with coaching/ promotion.
It is important for young girls to see girls similar to them playing football. Use images of girls (and boys) having fun
and spending time with their friends, this shows that playing football can be a good use of their free time. Marketing
materials need to be specific to girls (low/ high engaged) they need to be inclusive, open, fun and show process in
Step 6:
Step 7:
Consider a reward scheme, similar to that used by the Brownies which is tailored to girls only sessions, allowing girls
to develop a connection with the activity such as; certificates, stickers, headbands, hairbands, bottles, wristbands,
ball pump.
Step 8:
To motivate and inspire your players consider taking the group to watch a high profile women’s football match i.e.
England, FA Women’s Super League/Cup Finals. Or invite a role model (COACH, player referee to come to a session
and speak to the girls).
Research tells us that along with the right environment young girls want sessions that focus on fun, fitness and
Step 9:
The Coaching
Consult with the girls
and ask them what they
want to do.
Leave time to plan a
session – 30 minutes is a
good average. Decide what you
would like to teach, build confidence
in the girls by creating the right
environment, encouraging ball mastery
and time on the ball. Consider if
these challenges will be the same
for groups or individuals. Select
games or activities that will
help you achieve these.
Aim to develop
relationships and a
sense of belonging with
the low engaged girls
Review Learning with
the girls and gain their
feedback on the session.
Use this to help plan
your next session.
Research tells us
that at age 7 girls
fundamental movements
are less developed,
ensure that time is spent
practising these through
enjoyable fun games
and activities.
When coaching try
to include suggestions
from the England DNA,
the ‘How we coach’
element can be found
Play music
participation. You
could allow the group
to choose their own
playlist (as long as
it’s suitable!)
Allow for ‘social’
time before and
during your session – get
to know your players and
allow them to catch up
with each other
Allow the girls to have
ownership for some parts
of the session
Don’t be
afraid to stray
slightly from plan
and amend activities to
meet the needs of your
Plan festivals to aid
learning and build
Run conditioned
games i.e. matches that
allow girls to use their
hands and feet.
Please Click on these Links for Further Reading
FA Skills Team for girls’ only sessions
SE: Getting Girls Active
YST: Getting Girls Active
Women in Sport : Changing the Game for Girls
FA Coaching Courses
Girls Good Practise example
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