This BUCS Girl Can Week

Posted by lcj11 at Nov 11, 2016 12:53 PM |
Find out what sport is on offer for our female students at the University

women in sport

This week the organisation for British Universities and Colleges Sport, BUCS, has coordinated the This BUCS Girl Can Week. The week was designed to encourage female university students to get active and involved with sport during their time at university. The University of Leicester understands the importance of physical activity and how it can benefit it students, therefore the Sport & Recreation service are committed to allowing female students to get active at the University.

In the 2015/16 academic year female students made up around 45% of the student gym members at the University, however as a whole demographic female students made up over half of the student body. Recognising this the Sport & Recreation service has been increasing its efforts to make students more aware of the University’s ongoing sports programmes. Of the 37 Team Leicester clubs at the University 27 are either mixed or female only clubs; allowing women to enjoy a wide variety of competitive sport at the University. Furthermore all of the University’s Intramural Sport leagues and competitions are open to both men and women alike, once more enabling our female students to get active. For the last three years we have also been running the Lets Do Leicester programme, designed to allow those seeking to become involved with a wide range of sport at a less competitive level at a low cost. The University also runs regular events throughout the year which we encourage all students to get involved with, such as our annual Santa Run which is coming up on the 4th December.

women in sport 2

We spoke to some of our female Team Leicester club members and asked them to give us an insight into sport for women at the University:

What first made you want to get involved with sport?

I got involved in sport at a very young age. I had three brothers at home and they all needed a goalkeeper to practise their football against. The joke was on them really because I actually started to get good at it. – Cate Ashely, Women’s Rugby Union

Did you have any concerns when first starting to play sport?

I think my biggest concern about joining a sport at University was that I didn’t want it to be too intense and the fun to be taken out of it. I have had experiences, especially at secondary school, where you were pushed constantly to improve when really it should be about keeping fit and enjoying yourself. Whilst playing Dodgeball at University, I have really rediscovered the fun side to sport again. We do take the sport seriously and train to improve for leagues and competitions, but we cater for all abilities from national players to beginners, so the most important part is keeping it fun and enjoyable for everyone, not just the skilled players. – Imogen Barber, Dodgeball

What is the biggest barrier you have faced in your time playing sport?

I think for me, I have always struggled with confidence and having the self-belief to back myself. I was always reluctant to trial for things like county and regional academies because I was afraid of being rejected. – Libby Illingworth, Netball

How has playing sport benefitted you?

I have made friendships for life, people I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t joined a football team. Sport has taught me how to deal with disappointment and accept failure yet it’s given me the determination required to be successful in every aspect of my life, not just sport. – Shauna Cossens, Women’s Football

What are some of the key skills you have learnt in your time playing sport?

An obvious one for netball is teamwork and communication. It’s vital for the game but also so nice to build up strong friendships with you teammates; and for me playing netball has given me so many loyal friends who I can turn to when in need.  Sport has taught me to be committed and determined and it’s also made a very positive impact on my time management to enable me to make time to play and train. And finally it’s massively improved my confidence. Playing a team sport like netball means that you constantly have your team mates giving you support and reassurance and encouraging you to believe in yourself. – Libby Illingworth, Netball

What would you say to the girls who have concerns about getting involved with sport?

Go for it! I guarantee it will be one of the best decisions you make. Don’t let the stigma surrounding girls in sport prevent you from being successful or having fun because the majority of people now are very accepting of women within sport. – Shauna Cossens, Women’s Football

Just do it! Joining a sports team isn’t just about keeping active as there are so many other benefits, from skill development and making new friends. Keeping fit is meant to be fun and joining any sports society will enhance your time at University for sure! – Imogen Barber, Dodgeball

I would say not to have concerns. Whatever you're good at there is a sport for you. Whether you just want to get fit, meet new people or learn something new, sport can help you. – Cate Ashley, Women’s Rugby Union

Don’t be worried about not being good enough because there will always be a suitable level for you to play at. I think a common misconception amongst female sports is that they are always really judgemental which, in my experience, is not the case at all! Everyone is in the same position and no one cares if you look sweaty and red faced because everyone else will do too! And believe in yourself! Have the confidence to push yourself and don’t be afraid to fail, everyone does at some point in their life! – Libby Illingworth, Netball 

If you want to find out more about how you can get involved in sport at the University explore our website, or send an email to

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