In 2005, the Journal of Sport Management printed Wendy Frisby’s Earle F. Zeigler Lecture. The main thrust of Frisby’s presentation was that critical social science is an underutilized framework for conducting research in sport management and that, as a result, we remain limited in our abilities to truly understand how institutions and organizations “are best viewed as operating in a wider cultural, economic, and political context characterized by asymmetrical power relations that are historically entrenched” (2005, p.1). Other scholars such as Cunningham and Fink (2006) reinforced the importance of doing this kind of critical work. In their review of key research findings in sport management literature related to issues of diversity they concluded that the vast majority of studies “operated from the paradigm of positivism” and thus our field “could benefit from an incorporation of different investigative paradigms” (p. 458). Finally, Shaw and Frisby (2006) called for an embrace of critical theoretical frameworks which empirically address the complexities of, for example, gender relations and (in)equalities found throughout the vast sport enterprise.
Mary Jo Kane and Heather D. Maxwell
Nicole M. LaVoi, Erin Becker, and Heather D. Maxwell
Given the lack of nationalized and required coach education programs for those involved with youth sports, self-help coaching books are a common source of knowledge. With the exception of critiques of young adult sports fiction (Kane, 1998; Kreigh & Kane, 1997), sport media research has lacked investigation of mediums that impact non-elite youth athletes and adolescent girls, and youth coaches and parents of young female athletes. The purpose of this study is to examine ‘coaching girls’ books–specifically how differences between female and male athletes are constructed. A content analysis was performed on selective chapters within a criterion sampling of six best-selling, self-help ‘coaching girls’ books. Results indicate coaching girls books are written from a perspective of inflated gender difference, and represent a simplified, stereo-typed account of coaching girls. Four first-order themes emerged from analysis: Problematizing Coaching Girls, Girls Constructed As “Other,” Ambivalence, and Sustaining the Gender Binary. Implications of these themes are discussed.