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Health and Physical Education | Sports Sciences


Research has suggested that a minimal number of females serve as head coaches of male teams around the world. When they do coach males, female coaches have reported having difficulty establishing credibility, being one of the only female coaches, and feeling unsupported by administrators. The current study used open-ended responses and interview data to understand the experiences and perceptions of females coaching males at the U.S. high school level, as well as addresses the perceived barriers that may prohibit females from coaching boys. In general, the female coaches interviewed felt more support from their athletic administrators, parents, and other coaches than in previous research. The female coaches stated they enjoyed coaching boys, yet they believed they needed to be physically competent in order to prove themselves while coaching a boys’ team. They also described struggling to be respected and often felt they needed to employ masculine characteristics in order to be successful. These details provide evidence of the continuing uphill climb and yet, simultaneously documents that females’ experiences coaching male athletes may be improving. Further research is recommended examining the experiences of women coaching males at the high school level in the U.S. to determine if this trend is widespread.