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A Crisis of Confidence: Women Coaches’ Responses to Their Engagement in Resistance

This study centres upon the accounts of master women coaches based in the UK, exploring how they have individually experienced such acts of resistance as reaching the top of such a male dominated profession. By going beyond previous positivist feminist approaches to this focus of inquiry, I employ a feminist cultural studies framework to understand how the social construction of what it means to be a woman impacts women coaches’ individual sense of self and confidence to lead. The discussions are based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with six senior national women coaches of team sports in the UK. The data highlight the success of masculine hegemony of coaching through documenting women’s reluctance to advance their coaching career through a lack of self-belief and motivation as a consequence of their culturally and historically marginal position. The findings illustrate a pressing need for a revision of the dominant values inherent in professional sport in order to engage and retain potential women leaders.