Coaching Female Combat Athletes: Creating Positive Environments for Women and Girls

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we attempt to outline three interconnected problems that, based on our joint experiences of participating in, working alongside, and researching women’s combat sports, we argue to be important for male coaches, in particular, to understand. Although not an exhaustive list, we argue that these are problems which may not be readily apparent to coaches, but are nevertheless crucially important in shaping women’s experiences, along with their intentions to either continue participating or drop out of combat sports. These problems are introduced in theoretical terms, and then exemplified through the use of fictitious vignettes. We have based these short stories on amalgamations of selected episodes from the first author’s experiences of training in a range of combat sports (most recently boxing and Muay Thai) for a total of twenty years; the second author’s work as a performance psychologist with female combat athletes over the past three years; and research projects conducted by all three authors spanning the past ten years. While based on factual information and paraphrasing real peoples’ stories and quotes, the vignettes are creatively embellished in order to demonstrate the problems under examination in a clear and succinct manner within the confines of this chapter. The vignettes are then followed by suggestions and recommendations for coaches in order to address the outlined concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSport Coaching with Diverse Populations
Subtitle of host publicationTheory and Practice
EditorsJames Wallis, John Lambert
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • martial arts
  • combat sports
  • women in sport
  • sports coaching
  • gender


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