We caught up with GB Snowsport Para Alpine Performance Coach Jo Ryding following the announcement of her inclusion in UK Sport’s first female coaches leadership programme.

How did you get into skiing?

I first started skiing at the local dry ski slope where my Father coached myself and my brother.

What is your experience of being a female coach in Snowsport, do you think this experience could be improved at all?

When I first started coaching, I was one of a handful of females that had chosen to go down the coaching route, from the highest level down to grass route I can probably name 5 or 6 that were coaching. Coaching within Alpine is a physically demanding job with a lot of time spent abroad away from friends and family and the perceived impression at the time was that a female couldn’t do as good a job as a male could. Things have changed within the British system, but it’s still quite evident there is a lack of Females on the international circuit.

Why do you think it is important to continue to recruit more female sports coaches?

I feel that having a coach that understands and can relate to the same pressures that female athletes face can support the athlete and enhance their performance within their sport.

What is the Female Coaches Leadership Programme and how will it work?

The programme is designed to help more Females coaches make the transition into higher coaching roles within sport. Offering opportunities to shadow ‘master’ coaches working in World Class Performance Environments.

What are the main targets for the programme?

The main aim of the programme is to significantly increase the number of female coaches by improving access and experience within the high performance coaching environment. Their goal is to double the number of accredited female coaches at the next Olympic Games.

This is the first leadership programme UK Sport have launched. Do you think we will be seeing more opportunities like this in the future?

It would be brilliant to see the programme continued and more opportunities for female coaches coming through in the future. With the increase of female coaches in those positions I would hope they will become role models for other Female coaches aspiring to progress their careers.

Lastly, tell us how the GB Snowsport Para Alpine team are getting on at the moment?

The GB Para Alpine Athletes have been training well considering the current climate we find ourselves in. The athletes worked hard on their conditioning during the first lockdown and the period shortly after. Since being able to return to snow the athletes have utilised the increase in form to enable them to make some excellent progress technically. There’s been an increase in participation numbers over the past couple of years which in turn has increased the performance standard of the international field. We have some exciting times on the horizon and the athletes are rising to the challenge.

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