The Revolutionary Idea Of Women Coaching Men's Teams

Illustration for article titled The Revolutionary Idea Of Women Coaching Men's Teams

Apparently, just because you can do, it doesn't mean you can teach. Even in sports like hockey, where women have played with men at the professional level, female coaches are as rare as Kardashians who don't make millions marrying basketball players on television. In fact, it wasn't until 2009 that Nancy Lieberman, a former professional player herself, became the first woman to coach an NBA team (the Texas Legends, part of the NBA development league). According to Sonya Cuthbert, a reporter for the Calgary Herald, utilizing female coaches is just good business, seeing as women actually make pretty good coaches. Who knew! She says, "The most glorified coaches in college and high school basketball are women. They have more wins than any male coach of either men's or women's teams." So why aren't more of these winning coaches doing their thing at the professional level?


A common argument against dudes being coached by the fairer sex is that male athletes couldn't possibly be expected to listen to a woman instruct them on their layups. Which makes sense, because come on, they're athletes. They're so tall and broad-shouldered. Even if they could bend down low enough to talk to a female coach, they wouldn't be able to hear her. Their ears simply can't register frequencies that high-pitched!

Then again, maybe we should give the dudes a little more credit. As one of Lieberman's male players put it, "I've never had a women tell me what to do on the court before [Lieberman]. But she knows what she's talking about."

Make Room In The NHL For Woman Coaches [Calgary Herald]
A Woman Coaching? Just Another Step For Lieberman []



If I may play devil's advocate—a lot of coaches are former athletes. Not all, but a lot. Women's versions of the same sports tend to use different tactics (less checking, less physicality generally, etc)—different skill sets, different strategies, slightly different game. Female athletes know how to play THEIR sport, so they end up coaching the female version of the sport. It also makes sense that women who grow up to be coaches end up coaching women's teams, because a lot of these career paths get shaped early on, at the peewee, college, or minor league levels. When would a female coach make the switch to coaching a male team?

No, tell me—I'd love an answer to that, because I think it's ridiculous that there aren't female coaches.