Looking at ways to coax female coaches to the elite level has won a Griffith University student a Sports Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) bursary.

Bachelor of Sports Management (Honours) student, Jeff Greenhill has been exploring career pathways for female coaches and why improvement strategies haven’t worked.

Mr Greenhill is also a scholar with the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Centre of Excellence for Applied Sport Science Research (CoE).

He said success of organised sport was heavily dependent on the availability of coaches, yet the number of coaches in Australia was declining and there was a shortage of female coaches.

“A common assumption is the proportion of female coaches is relatively equal to the proportion of female participants in sport, however for many sports this is not the case,” Mr Greenhill said.

“The low numbers of female coaches, especially at the elite levels of sport is alarming.

“The concern is not only equal opportunity for women, but also on the availability of appropriate role models for younger females.”

Mr Greenhill said his research revealed a number of organisational strategies appeared to have a negative affect on females in the sport environment.

“My recommendations focus on coaching recruitment and retention procedures as well as further developing the promotion of female coach development programs to coaches and administrators,” Mr Greenhill said.

Mr Greenhill will present his research findings to the Queensland Academy of Sport and Queensland Sport Organisations with recommendations that seek to influence organisational practices so they better consider career pathways for female coaches.

As part of the bursary Mr Greenhill also presented his findings at the recent 13th Annual SMAANZ Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

The bursary included free SMAANZ membership, $1,000 towards conference expenses to present his research and $500.