University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Women’s Barriers to Becoming and Being a Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach

Guinan, Jaime, Thomas, Gavin ORCID: and Molnar, Gyozo ORCID: (2019) Women’s Barriers to Becoming and Being a Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach. In: Women in Sport and Exercise 2019 Conference: Pushing the Boundaries, 11th - 12th June 2019, St Mary's University, Twickenham. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Background: The role of a strength and conditioning (S&C) coach is multifaceted. It involves working directly with athletes to develop physical qualities, help prevent injuries and improve athletic prowess. This role is a vital part of the coaching process, which has led to increases in the number of people who seek employment in the field. The UK strength and conditioning association (UKSCA) reported in 2018 that there are 750 members who are accredited coaches. However, only 7 (!) percent of those are women (Medlin-Silver et al. 2017). Clearly, female coaches are almost completely absent in S&C, especially at the elite-level. Aims: To explore women’s perceptions and attitudes towards becoming a S&C coach in predominantly male dominated sports and to identify specific reasons for women’s marginalisation in the sector. Methods: We have carried out an exploratory study using semi-structured interviews with 15 female S&C coaches (Mean age=29.7; SD=6.03), with a minimum of 2 years’ experience of coaching males and females (Mean= 9.2; SD = 6.35). Participants have worked in the UK (n=10), America (n=3) and Australia (n=2). Interviews were transcribed verbatim, analysed using thematic coding and key themes identified form the spine of the discussion. Results: Participants noted three main challenges that they have faced. Those include: organizational politics, impression management of gender identity and work-life balance. All of these acted as barriers to reaching higher leadership positions or to secure S&C employment in other sports. A coping mechanism that emerged to deal with the above challenges was the use of humour, specifically banter to create buy-in. Conclusion: The S&C profession is extensively influenced by sociocultural forces that promote hegemonic masculinity. Women feel that they have to become ‘honorary men’ to prove their competence. Specific education programmes to support women in S&C is recommended for the industry to reduce gender gap.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Additional Information:

The abstract relating to this conference presentation has been published here:

(2020). 2019 Women in Sport and Exercise Conference Abstracts. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal 28, 1, 55-65, available from:

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: women, sport, barriers, coaching, strength and conditioning, S & C
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Gavin Thomas
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2019 11:33
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2020 09:40

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.