The impact of the menstrual cycle - understanding athlete and coaches' perspectives in Scottish Swimming



Hyde M & Zipp S (2021) The impact of the menstrual cycle - understanding athlete and coaches' perspectives in Scottish Swimming. Sport in Society. https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/fcss20

Menstrual health has historically been a taboo subject, limited to girls briefly learning about it in school. It has subsequently been ignored within sporting realms, as a contributing performance factor and topic of discussion within coaching badges. This is an exploratory study, using a general feminist lens to understand coaches’ current awareness of menstrual health, the current levels of stigma, the coach-athlete dialogue around the menstrual cycle and how menstrual health could be incorporated into coach learning. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 13 coaches and 6 athletes. The results revealed a large spectrum of knowledge, most with a limited knowledge of the physiological process of the menstrual cycle. The results revealed that there was a need and desire from both coaches and athletes for menstrual health education. While most of the coaches felt they would be comfortable discussing menstrual health, they were not confident in their knowledge and would not be able to provide their athletes with practical advice. Athletes indicated an openness at speaking about the menstrual cycle as they got older, but felt coaches should be responsible for opening the dialogue. Overall, the findings indicate that the menstrual cycle should be incorporated into coach education as well as educating athletes and parents, specifically of younger athletes. Providing education may help coaches to feel able to openly discuss and assist their athletes, supporting their overall physical and psychological wellbeing.

sport and gender; coach education; menstrual cycle; menstruation; sport; stigma; swimming

Output Status: Forthcoming

Sport in Society

Date accepted by journal01/12/2021
Publisher URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/journals/fcss20

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