Secrets of Successful Women Coaches

Michael Messner
Michael A. Messner is Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California and the author of several books including Taking the Field: Women, Men, and Sports. His latest title, It’s All for the Kids: Gender, Families, and Youth Sports, will be published by UC Press in March 2009. Below, is an excerpt from the conclusion of his blog entry entitled, Secrets of Successful Women Coaches, from the youth sports website, MomsTeam.

“These successful strategies can be summed up in a single quote from a woman softball coach: ‘You gotta be tough.’ As I spoke with these women, I came to see them as courageous pioneers.
But I also concluded that the individual strategies they developed are very limited. Not all women are willing to be ‘tough,’ just to be able to coach their kids. Nor should they have to be. Moreover,
the women who did act more competitive, tougher,and more assertive than many of the men found that they ran head-on into the same sort of double-standard that women face in corporate life or the professions: if you are not competitive and aggressive, you are not taken seriously; if you are overly so, you are seen as pushy, or as having, as one woman told me, ‘a chip on my shoulder.'”

To read the entire blog entry and other subsequent blogs, please visit, Messner’s MomsTeam blog.