Today is International Women’s Day, which celebrates the global achievements of women and is a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
“50 percent of the labor force, sports fans, and athletes are women, yet the representation of women in sports tech is a small fraction of that,” says Marilou McFarlane, founder & CEO of Women in Sports Technology (WiST), which is a strategic partner of Catapult that works to improve gender diversity in the sports technology industry.
In addition to our support of WiST, we work with women’s teams from around the world. Below we highlight a few of the many women’s sports scientists, strength and conditioning coaches, performance staff, and athletes we work with on a daily basis. Read on to learn more about their achievements:
Canada Women’s National Soccer Team Wins Gold
For the very first time, the women’s Canadian soccer team became gold medalists at Tokyo 2020. This success came after the team picked up back-to-back bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
— Canada Soccer's Women's National Team (@CANWNT) September 1, 2021
The team started using Catapult back in 2012 and the staff said: “we understand the context of our performances … and we can replicate that intensity in training and evaluate our team and individual’s response. Now, we’re much more certain our players are prepared for the demands of international soccer.”
Following the gold medal success, the team is not standing still. They aspire to lift the 2023 FIFA World Cup and Catapult will be with them every step of the way.
New Zealand’s National Netball Team Has Strong History of Wins
Currently, sitting second in the world rankings, the Silver Ferns – New Zealand’s national netball team – are one of the premier teams across all of women’s sports. Catapult has worked alongside the team for five years and in that time, they became World Champions in 2019.
From a discussion with the team, the Head of High Performance said:
“During the World Cup, the biggest thing for us to measure was the cumulative load. This meant it was not a case of looking at one game in isolation, but a case of what the team needs to deliver over the course of the ten days, particularly given they need to deliver their best performances in the last few days of the tournament. We used Catapult to ensure we had twelve fully fit players that delivered on the last two days of the tournament.”
More comments from those who #BreakTheBias
#1 Hannah Jowitt – Disability and Pathway Analyst, England and Wales Cricket Board.
Hannah has a strong background in sports science, having played a big part in working with Catapult at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as a sports scientist and performance analyst, and previously working as a sports science and strength and conditioning intern at Notts County FC.
With sport always being a huge part of her life, there was no question about entering the industry for a career. She confesses that she was “never going to be a pro sportswoman”, which, combined with her aptitude for maths and science, meant that the sports performance route was the way to go. Perseverance is key to Hannah’s success in landing an enviable role within the UK sports industry…
…“of course, there are a few gender stereotypes that you had to break down, particularly early on in my career and in my intern roles, but I’ve been very lucky to have great mentors.”
A career highlight for Hannah is the work that she did at the ECB alongside Catapult: the development of the fast bowling algorithm that won Sport Industry’s Cutting Edge Tech Award in 2017.
#2 Tahleya Eggers – NRLW Head of Performance, Parramatta Eels.
In an industry like sports science that is fast-paced and rapidly progressing, Tahleya states it is critical to be adaptable as well as to constantly bring something new to the table. This is particularly relevant when it comes to innovation within the National Rugby League (NRL).
“The rate of technological growth in the industry is rapid. In turn, the level of data analytics will increase, requiring practitioners to develop a more advanced skill set … day-to-day, there are nuanced challenges that females face in a male-dominated environment.”
However, this hasn’t held Tahleya back from achieving her career aspirations. She landed her current role as a sports scientist at the Parramatta Eels in 2018, deciding to apply for it despite not being the favourite candidate on paper. Her focused mindset, along with her talent within the NRL’s sports performance industry, means that she will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
#3 Michelle Truncali – Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning, University of Notre Dame.
In her role at Notre Dame, Michelle works with various programs in the weight room and on the court/field for conditioning sessions. She analyses data from technologies such as Catapult and Forceplate, and utilises it to develop and implement individual and team programs.
Each day brings a different challenge; daily she is able to see her athletes’ data, viewing it from many different aspects and determining how to implement and communicate the best program for them to succeed.
One major challenge Michelle experienced was earning the respect of athletes and coaches when given responsibility for their teams. The Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning heaps praise on her mentors – Mike Szemborski, Erik Hernandez, Duval Kirkaldy and Brijesh Patel – who “never looked at gender or age as a requirement for being a good strength coach”.
Michelle originally joined the University of Notre Dame back in 2018. Starting as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, Michelle quickly proved her talent and now oversees all aspects of strength and conditioning for the women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer and men’s golf programs.