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Profiling volunteers in sports clubs

Reid, Fiona (2010) Profiling volunteers in sports clubs. In: Volunteering Counts, 2010-03-01 - 2010-03-02.

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Sports volunteering is a domain where the gender balance of volunteers is unusual. In Scotland, Reid (2009) found that while 54% of all volunteers were women just 43% of sports volunteers were women. Sports volunteering merits further investigation. 76% of sports coaching in the UK is undertaken on a voluntary basis and just 3% of sports coaches are full-time (North, 2009). This paper reports on qualitative research into the Scottish Women into Coaching Programme (WICP). In depth interviews with female sports coaches on the WICP have revealed distinct differences between individuals. Factors affecting each coach’s life course such as their age, their family circumstances, their sport, their introduction to sport coaching and their aspirations are hypothesized to have influenced each coach’s perception of the role of the coach. This perception of the coaching role in turn appears to be linked to the level of engagement in coach education or the professionalisation process. This paper presents preliminary findings from the 3-year research project, and considers the implications of ambiguity in definition of the role of sports coach for the continued modernisation of sports coaching.