Ellie Asquith who is a Community Foundation Leader and a member of the BUCS Women's Leadership Programme tells us how she got involved with sport.
Community Foundation Leader (Coach at Wapping Youth FC and Wildcats Centre)
Member of the BUCS Women's Leadership Programme
What impact has sport had on you and your life?
I’ve always found sport to be a great way to make friends and have fun, particularly to enjoy the outdoors when you can. As a young person it also helps you connect with people outside your normal circle and even after moving to London it helped me do this especially. Uni in particular can feel isolating if you aren’t surrounded by people, and having people with an interest in a similar sport can really help. Meeting the girls I play 5-a-side with, the people I row with, and the group I coach for has given me so many opportunities I would never have thought I could have.
Have you faced any challenges or had to overcome any barriers in sport? (how did you overcome these?)
As a young girl I played a lot of football growing up and at the time it definitely felt like a male-dominated sport. Even having the privilege of having a season ticket to my local club, was an example of only men playing. As I grew up and went to secondary school the (female) football coach in my junior years unfortunately passed away and it felt as though the only option given to girls was to transfer and play netball. Maintaining an interest in a sport you have limited access to is tough, and it’s why I’m so happy to focus my coaching on young girls, and why I’m so proud to coach them as having a female coach is so impactful in this.
How your experience of engaging with QMSU Sport been?
At QMSU I’ve really enjoyed the sporting opportunities I’ve been given. The community foundation gave me the opportunity to pursue coaching, something I’d previously never considered, but has facilitated me in attaining numerous qualifications in this area. I also had never rowed before coming to university and now I am the social secretary for Queen Mary Boat Club, and discovered in the process a team sport that I love with my entire heart.
What skills have you developed and how will these support you later in life?
As a participant I have found that I’ve developed my teamwork skills massively. I’ve also gotten much better at receiving feedback, both individually and with a team, and at acting on this feedback when necessary. I imagine this will help a lot in later life as I can apply this to projects and roles I work on. As a coach, I’ve developed in numerous ways, but mostly in leadership and communication skills, which will help massively in any management jobs.
What would you say to other women and girls about engaging in sport?
Don’t be put off even in a male-dominated sport, and if there’s no ‘space at the table’ then make space. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in my coaching qualifications and programmes is to get to know the people around you, and take as many opportunities as you can. Especially in the sporting world, people are very well connected and opportunities arise frequently, and knowing people who can help you get them, or have them shown to you will allow you to thrive in every sense.