An investigation into the challenges faced by females in performance sport: a case study of tennis in Cardiff.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of this study was to explore the issues and challenges females face in sport at performance level with a case study of tennis in Cardiff. A detailed review of the literature relating to the challenges females face in general and within tennis formed the initial basis for this study. A qualitative research design was undertaken to explore the views adopted by the female contingent of tennis players. Purposive sampling was used to select the most appropriate participants as the characteristics of the sample should reflect the target population (Smith, 2010). Semi-structured interviews were undertaken (n=4), whereby audiotaped interviews were used to reveal the experiences of the tennis players at performance level. Three procedures were used to analyse the data, and key themes were identified and discussed. The study found that male and female sports differ due to tradition and set notions (Du Bois and Heyndels, 2007). The findings indicated that participants shared three major concerns, which prevented them from progressing to the next level in tennis, namely (1) inadequate media coverage and trivialisation of female tennis players, (2) the affect of previous set notions on gender roles and (3) the difference between the number of sets men and women play. Therefore, it is necessary for the media to change their marketing strategies and adopt an equal and fair approach, which will give female tennis players the opportunities to demonstrate their physically capabilities and achieve equal recognition within tennis. Further research is necessary to ascertain whether the proposed result is a successful representation of challenges female tennis players face at performance level. Therefore a separate analysis of a similar nature regarding females who have not successfully progressed to a performance in tennis should now be undertaken.
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