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Navigating the Rocky road: elite female boxers’ perceptions of their boxing journey

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Given the scarcity of psychological research examining female participation in boxing, the present study sought to provide a bottom-up perspective of female amateur boxers’ experiences of, first, the challenges of competing as a female amateur boxer, and second, the strategies employed to overcome these challenges. Additionally, this study aimed to provide specific policy recommendations to facilitate developmental opportunities for female boxers. In order to achieve these aims, phenomenological interviews were conducted with eight elite British female amateur boxers examining the early, middle and later years of their boxing careers. Following an inductive content analysis, the findings revealed that the boxers experienced similar challenges and employed various strategies to deal with these barriers. Furthermore, explicit policy recommendations have been provided, such as the provision of a women’s boxing programme at the elite level and an increase in media promotion of women’s boxing, which may help governing bodies to support their female amateur boxers. Future research examining the perceptions of those who support the boxers (i.e., coaches, parents and sport science/medicine support practitioners) would provide a more holistic evaluation of female boxers’ lived experiences and thus better help in articulating how best to support female athletes throughout their boxing careers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
JournalMartial Arts Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020

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