Higher percentage of Estonian coaches women compared to EU average

Kristjan Port Source: ERR

Estonia has a higher percentage of female coaches compared to the EU average and the amount of Estonian coaches that hold a university degree in recreation studies is quite high compared to other European countries.

According to Estonian Sports Act, a coach has to have officially certified qualification. Since 2013, there are six qualification levels for coaches in Estonia: starting from level 3 (assistant coach) and reaching level 8 (elite coach).

There are 1,070 certified level three coaches in Estonia, 974 coaches hold the fifth qualification level and five of the 3,338 professional coaches are active at the elite level. An average of 300 qualified coaches is added to the workforce yearly.

58.5 percent of the Estonian coaches are men, 41.5 percent women, well above the EU average.

According to a March 2019 study commissioned by the European Parliament, it is estimated that between 20 and 30 percent of all sport coaches in Europe are women. As reported in Gender Equality in Sport Proposal for Strategic Actions 2014-2020, in Germany, for example, only around ten percent of the 500 national coaches are women, in Sweden, the corresponding percentage is 11. In the UK 17 percent of qualified coaches were women, in Slovenia 15 percent of the national team coaches at junior level and higher were women.

According to the Estonian sports registry, the average age of coaches has steadily risen. The average age of active male coaches is 41.9 years, female coaches 38 years.

28.4 percent of qualified Estonian coaches hold a university degree in recreation studies. According to Professor of Sports Biology at Tallinn University Kristjan Port, the percentage is quite high.

"Looking at the work undertaken by the European Commission expert group, this number is up there. Coaches are often parents, who have decided to coach their child a little with no prior formal preparation. In Estonia, the lower coaching qualifications can be attained via non-university training, with universities offering programmes up to a doctorate degree. A few individuals have doctorates in Estonia," Port said.

"Coaching is a surprisingly valued occupation. There are around nine million coaches in Europe with some five million doctors and three million police officers. We might think that being a coach is somehow marginal, but it looking at examples from other countries, the occupation holds an important position in society," Port added.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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