Crusaders AC: Women in Sport Network Support


Athletics Ireland hosted a Coaching Teenage Girls Webinar in March. The webinar was attended by coaches from around the country including some coaches from Crusaders AC. After attending the webinar the Crusaders coaches present decided to organise an event for their teenage members. It was the first event of this type hosted in their new clubhouse in Irishtown.


The goal on the night was to have a positive, relatable, female role model speak to their teenage and adolescent girls. As coaches, they recognise that it’s not only a key time in their athletes’ physical development, but also a time when outside pressures build and these girls are at risk of dropping out of athletics.


The guest speaker was Ellie Hartnett from UCD AC. Ellie is a practicing physiotherapist at the Dublin Sports Clinic and competitive middle distance runner. Ellie has represented Ireland at underage level and at U23 in the Euro XC. She has medalled at Nationals in the 1500m indoors and outdoors. As an athlete Ellie continues to improve with recent PBs in the 800m, 1500m and 5k.


The event was attended by twenty U15-U20 female members along with juvenile and senior club coaches. On the night Ellie took part in a moderated Q&A about her life in athletics. Topics ranged from her early years in sport, the injury that led her to study physiotherapy, her experience at UCD as a student athlete and, the importance of a supportive environment in performance. Ellie addressed a wide variety of questions covering nutrition and appropriate fueling, the importance of rest in recovery and her own experience of body image and body issues. Ellie highlighted the red flags to watch out for as a female athlete and gave insight into her own competition preparation, including psychological tips for effective race management.


The event concluded with Ellie leading the group in a mobility warm up and some body weight circuits, introducing the group to some exercises she uses with her physiotherapy clients. Post event she shared additional resources including her list of women in sport to follow and links to some of her favourite podcasts. 


Everyone at Crusaders would like to thank Ellie for being so generous with her time and openly sharing the ups and downs of life as a senior athlete. It’s the hope of the coaches at Crusaders that this event will help open the door to important discussions that may take place over the next number of years and help keep these girls involved in athletics.


(Photo Credit: Crusaders AC)

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