“It’s Not Particularly P.C., You Know . . .”: Women Coaches’ Performing Gender in Strength and Conditioning

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 University of Worcester
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Strength and conditioning (S&C) has become a chief part of athletes’ physiological preparation. Despite S&C’s growing presence across sports, women coaches have been generally marginalized and underrepresented. This study explores female S&C coaches’ experiences and coping mechanisms in a male-dominated industry. Semi-structured interviews with 15 female S&C coaches were conducted. The main themes identified from interview data are organizational politics, impression management, and humor. The findings suggest that women S&C coaches are often in subservient positions and have to adopt some traditional, male-generated subcultural practices to fit in. They carefully manage their coaching front stage to generate an impression that is expected and accepted in the given milieu. In their efforts to fit in, women often find themselves in a multiplicity of power matrices that involve a continuous negotiation of gender identity, internal politics, and sexist banter.

The authors are with the School of Sport & Exercise Science, University of Worcester, Worcester, United Kingdom.

Thomas (g.thomas@worc.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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