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Sport Ireland have published the findings of research looking in-depth at Women in Sport Coaching in Ireland from 2020, including a comprehensive survey and focus groups they undertook.

The research sought to gather information on the coaching experience of females in Ireland and the impact this has on their involvement in coaching.

The specific aims of the research were to:

  1. Develop a more in-depth understanding of the status of females in coaching roles on the island of Ireland
  2. Investigate the challenges and opportunities to increase the numbers of females coaching across all sports and at all levels; and
  3. Use the feedback to develop good practice programmes, resources or strategies that NGBs and LSPs can use to recruit, retain, develop and progress female coaches.

The Survey

Led by Sport Ireland’s Research Unit, the online survey was divided into two sections, one focused on active female coaches and the second on inactive female coaches (defined as not coaching in the previous six months). Six follow-on focus groups were held in November 2020 to explore, in more detail, issues pertinent to active and inactive female coaches.

2,374 coaches responded to the survey with a breakdown of 1,825 active and 549 inactive female coaches. Further in-depth conversations took place with 28 participants via a focus group setting.

The Results

Following a thematic analysis of both survey responses and focus group data, nine themes emerged:

  1. Coaching Network
  2. Barriers to progression
  3. Role models/mentoring
  4. NGB/Club Support
  5. Personal Commitment
  6. Coaching Culture
  7. Confidence
  8. Re-engaging inactive coaches
  9. Learning structures

OSS research from 2021, “Women in Leadership in Scottish Sport‘ identified a number of the relatable themes and found that women in Scotland and Ireland are facing a number of the same barriers to progressing in sport.

The Research Report below outlines the above themes in depth and also includes coaching factsheets to further highlight the findings. To view the data sheets, please click here.