SACA builds Women’s Personal Development through the HERFORM project

South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) has recently joined as a partner on the European Commission co-funded project “HERFORM” focused on the personal and professional development of female athletes entering the high-performance environment.

The HERFORM project is led by Rugby Players Ireland (project proposal co-created by TWIN). SACA along with the Sports University of Cologne, is the research lead. Other project partners are the Spanish Futsal Association and the National Youth Association of Sweden.

The project kicked off with a research phase, currently underway, where female athletes around the world, from various sporting codes completed questionnaires on the variety of obstacles to high-level performance experienced as a female athlete. In September, the data collected will be analysed and focused discussion groups will take place on specific issues. This phase will provide the researchers with an insight and a better understanding of the barriers female athletes must overcome to experience an effective transition into the high-performance environment. The second and third phases respectively will focus on product design and dissemination of best practice.

“Player development is at the core of what we do as an organisation. It is crucial to ensure that the programmes we deliver to players are evidence-based. By having a strong research base, we are confident that we are providing our female players with support that is data-driven and that has been proven to be a benefit to players,” commented Ruan Schlebusch, Dual Career and Development Manager.

The outcomes of the HERFORM Project at the end of the three years will support the SACA Player Plus programme to deliver programmes that reflect female athletes’ needs and set them apart from their male counterparts. In addition, SACA members will have access to a digital training hub that reflect the recommendations that can be applied by the regional SACA Player Development Managers, as well as SACA support staff, working with professional female cricketers.

“This Womens Day, we celebrate the women who came before us who laid the foundation for a research project as important as the HERFORM to happen. Being a part of a project this big gives local players a chance to lend our voice to the global movement in womens sport and the opportunity to help develop a professional product that meets our needs as professional athletes. As a member of the SACA Players’ Executive, it is important for me, that female professional needs and issues are highlighted and addressed. SACA is an organisation run by players, for players and it is important to ensure service delivery to members is of the highest quality” commented Tumi Sekhukhune, SACA Players Executive Member.

“Since 2015, when South African female cricketers first signed professional contracts, the game has developed year on year. The 2023 ICC Womens T20 World Cup has captured the public’s interest in womens cricket and has raised the bar of professionalism in womens cricket. For these reasons, it is important for SACA to be ahead of the curve in the player development landscape” said Andrew Breetzke, SACA CEO

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