For the Love of Strength: Experiences of Female Strength and Conditioning Coaches

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Yvette L. FigueroaDepartment of Kinesiology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA

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Emily A. RoperDepartment of Kinesiology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA

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Women’s involvement in sport has been replete with challenges at all levels. In a similar vein, women in strength and conditioning (S&C) encounter workplace challenges at all levels. Given the lack of representation of women in S&C, it is important to delve into the potential contributing factors. The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of women’s experiences in S&C. A total of 19 female S&C coaches at the collegiate level participated in our study. Participants were interviewed individually by both investigators via Zoom video calls using a semistructured interview guide. An overwhelming interest in participation among female S&C coaches allowed for interviews to be performed past the stage of saturation. Career experience among participants ranged from 4 to 26 years (M = 12.87 years). Results uncovered five central themes: (a) entrance into the S&C field and navigating a male-dominated culture, (b) appearance and presentation, (c) pressure to hire women, (d) support community and mentorship, and (e) family. Despite the perceived barriers described by these women, all participants stressed the love and passion each has for their career. The implications of this study are vital for administrators and athletic directors to advocate for greater representation of women in S&C and associated leadership positions.

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