A case study of a female trampoline coach’s experiences navigating capital throughout her career

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The study aims to explore a female trampoline gymnastics coach’s career progression using Bourdieu’s “thinking tools” of capital and field. The objectives of the study were to provide an illustrative gendered account of the influences of capital and field throughout a coaching career.

A single coach was recruited to participate in this study based on: being a woman, a Head Coach at a community sport club and holding a UKCC Level 3 in Trampoline Gymnastics. Data was collected using a semi-structured interview discussing the coach’s gendered experiences of sports coaching and a provisional framework interview which developed a chronological exploration of career progression. The interviews were audio-recorded then transcribed verbatim with data analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Findings and Discussion
The development of capital and thus progression in coaching were impacted by the intersection of gender and no gymnastic background. The corporeal realities of women’s bodies and difficulties associated with spotting influenced the acquirement of physical and cultural capital. Whilst social capital was influenced by support from a group of male coaches and gaining acceptance in the gymnastics community. The coach’s inability to perform skills affected the development of symbolic and cultural capital. Limited opportunities for economic capital discouraged the pursuit of a coaching career. The sum of capital influenced the social position and career progression of the coach within the field of gymnastics.

Career progression and exit was influenced by capital within the field of gymnastics. Coaches’ progression in sport could be enhanced by providing opportunities to develop social, cultural, symbolic and economic capital. In terms of workforce development there is a need to consider: developing networking opportunities, promoting inclusion of coaches from a variety of backgrounds, and reviewing education course requirements for coaches to perform skills.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2022
EventUK Sport Development Network Conference: Sport and social justice; if not now, when? - Leeds Beckett University , Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sept 20228 Sept 2022


ConferenceUK Sport Development Network Conference
Abbreviated titleUKSDN 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Sports coaching
  • Grassroots coaching
  • Female coach
  • Capital


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