Tina McKenzie on Coach For All: Making sport more inclusive

Last updated on 22 June, 2023
Tina McKenzie, three-time Paralympian, coach and Personal Injury Team Manager VIC, shares her insights into challenges faced by LGBTQ+ athletes, and explains how Allianz’s Coach For All program equips coaches with the tools to create a more welcoming environment and encourage inclusion.

As Assistant Coach for The Gliders, the Australian Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, Tina’s experiences have given her a deeper understanding of the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport, and how coaches can positively influence behaviour.

Tina said, “Throughout my journey, I have sadly witnessed homophobic behaviour and language used both on and off the court. I’ve seen firsthand how this has been detrimental to the individuals involved, having to hide their sexuality for fear of being excluded or discriminated against. Even if unintentional, homophobic language and slurs can have a negative impact on a player’s performance, their mental health as well as the wider playing group. Personally, these experiences have reinforced the need for further inclusion and acceptance, not just within sport but also within the wider community.”

Designed in partnership with Pride in Sport and top coaches, Sydney Roosters Head Coach, Trent Robinson and Louise Sauvage OAM, Allianz’s Coach For All program is comprised of four short video modules as well as downloadable resources and can be completed in 30 minutes.

Upon completing the program Tina said “It’s an incredible program that enables coaches to foster a safe and inclusive environment within their teams. Ongoing education really is the key. Coach For All is not only empowering coaches to have a voice and speak out against discrimination, but it provides them with the confidence to role model behaviours that can lead to a long-lasting cultural change.”

Tina says she’s now better equipped with knowledge and tools, to support LGBTQ+ athletes and has a greater appreciation of why programs like Coach For All are needed at all levels of sport.

“I found the program engaging and informative, providing current information on LGBTQ+ inclusive language and terminology, as well as tools that allow coaches to have supportive and inclusive conversations. This training is relevant to all coaches from grassroots to elite level coaching, providing all players a safe and inclusive environment to play sport. 

Sharing advice for anyone considering the Coach For All program, Tina said, “Start your journey today and show your support as an ally. The program supports coaches to create a sense of belonging so their athletes can thrive and succeed, regardless of their sexual or gender identity."

Coach For All is based on the ethos that everyone; coach, player, or spectator, has the power to drive change and educate their community. This can be achieved through the behaviours and language we use in sport as well as in our day to day lives.

To find out more or start the program visit Coach For All.

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