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Working Mother-Coaches in Youth Sport: Beyond the Worker-Mother Identity

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Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. (@DrSportPsych) is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota where she is also the Co-Director of the Tucker Center (@TuckerCenter) for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium.

In her research article, titled Juggling Balls and Roles, Working Mother-Coaches in Youth Sport: Beyond the Dualistic Worker-Mother Identity in the Journal of Sport Management, Lavoi highlights the experiences of mothers who work and volunteer as youth coaches.

Her findings can assist sport organizations in recruiting and retaining female coaches and, in particular, mothers at the youth sport level. By highlighting why these mothers coach and how they manage their different roles, as well as the transferable skills that mothers are able to bring to coaching and the enrichment that coaching can bring to mothers’ lives, the prevalent focus on a lack of skills and knowledge can be redressed.

Sport organizations can readily provide sport specific skills and drills, but it is much harder to develop the interpersonal qualities required for effective coaching, which many mothers already possess. By attracting more mothers into youth coaching, young players are being exposed to women in leadership positions, which in time may pave the way for coaching to be seen as the preserve of both women and men.

To read Lavoi's full research, download the PDF below.

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