Juggling Balls and Roles, Working Mother-Coaches in Youth Sport: Beyond the Dualistic Worker-Mother Identity

in Journal of Sport Management
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Despite the ubiquitous presence of mothers in sport contexts, mothers’ voices are often absent in the sport literature, particularly at the youth sport level. A phenomenological approach was used to explore the experiences of working mother volunteer youth sport coaches. A role-triad model based on the work-family enrichment and role enhancement literature provided the theoretical framework. The purpose was to understand how and why working mother-coaches mange this role triad and to identify mother-worker skills which may transfer to youth coaching and vice versa. Semistructured interviews were conducted with eight working mother-coaches and analyzed for themes. Findings suggest that notions of being a good mother and reasons for coaching are very similar, including spending time together, developing life skills and role modeling. Participants negotiated multiple roles using cognitive tools, such as reframing and separation of roles. The reciprocal benefits of motherhood, working and coaching for themselves and others were highlighted.

Leberman is with the School of Management, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. LaVoi is with the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, Minneapolis, MN.

Journal of Sport Management
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