What is it about?
The work is a personal, autoethnography of the lead author's experiences as a women coaching amongst the cultural space of British swimming. To move beyond simply explaining the career stages, the lead author, Louise, offers a personal and evocative story as to how she navigated her way through each phase of entering into coaching after an athletic career, to then excelling and reaching the very pinnacle of the sport when coaching at the London 2012 Olympics and other international competition in both para and able bodied swimming.
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Why is it important?
Elite level coaches are dominated by men. Very few women have broken through this barrier in what has been called a 'glass' or 'concrete ceiling'. Those women who do reach the very top are often stigmatised for several reasons. Therefore, rather than continuing to dwell on the reasons which prevent women from reaching the upper echelons of coaching, Louise offered a detailed account as to how she navigated her way through this career trajectory. In doing so, multiple barriers were noted but strategies on how she overcame these were also recorded. These strategies left a long-lasting effect on her identity as a women, coach and person which can indicate as to why women are perpetually under-represented in elite sport coaching roles. The conclusions offered in this paper are intended to offer strategies for individuals and supporting organisations to employ more equitable and meritocratic procedures with sport coaching and its educational environments.
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This page is a summary of: ‘Coach, or female coach? And does it matter?’: An autoethnography of playing the gendered game over a twenty-year elite swim coaching career, Qualitative Research in Sport Exercise and Health, August 2021, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/2159676x.2021.1969998.
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