Six Ways to Increase Female Participation in Your Aussie Hoops Program

Author: Darren Anderson, Community Basketball Manager (BA)

1. Focus On Fun 

Cast a critical eye over your activities – how can we make them more engaging and inclusive? Are we still delivering the dreaded ‘elimination games’? Count the important ‘stats’ at any one time: 

  • % of kids smiling
  • % of kids active and with a basketball 
  • % of parents taking photos of their child 

Importantly, this is not to the detriment of competitiveness – girls are as competitive as boys when the right environment is provided. For all genders, competitions in Aussie Hoops should largely be centred around mastery of a new skill (including personal bests) and inclusive group challenges. 

2. Reduce Group Sizes 

Delivery in smaller groups of (less than 12 participants) allows for a much greater sense of belonging for both coaches and participants, and enhances the coach’s capacity to provide an inclusive and engaging session for participants. Retention of participants is shown to be much higher where Coordinators take 15 minutes before each program to create smaller groups based on age/gender/friendships/experience and allocate an appropriate coach to this group.   

3. Ask Your Coaches To Reflect On Their Coaching Style 

The coach is the greatest salesperson you have for your Local Centre – for both positive and negative experiences. Is your coach portraying grumpiness? Are they conscious of including everyone and tracking the smiles within the group as they coach? Or are they consumed with the activity itself and the whole group? Create small 5-minute settings for your coaches to reflect on their delivery and whether they achieved their objectives. 

4. Increase Opportunities To ‘Buddy Up 

Schedule a ‘Bring a Friend Day’ within your Aussie Hoops program and promote it at intervals of three weeks and one week leading up to the event – this has been regularly proven to grow participation when delivered well. Also, emphasise to your coaches that there is an important difference between doing an activity “next to your friend” and “with your friend” – i.e. activities where participants can share an objective with their friend. 

5. Ask Three New Females Within The Organisation To Join Your ‘Team’ 

“If you can see it, you can be it” 

Clubs looking to grow their female participation should first look at the make-up of their committee and management. The unfortunate reality is that qualified girls and women are often hesitant to volunteer for coaching and leadership roles within the club environment for a variety of reasons. There may be a need to proactively tap them on the shoulder, but this is a great way to convey that you value their skills and involvement with the program.  

Tell Your Story 

Now that your program is more inclusive towards girls, it’s important to tell that story through your communication channels. Ensure that the photos you are sharing on social media include 50% representation of female participants (and coaches) where feasible.