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UK Coaching Team
Safety and Welfare Supporting Specific Needs

To Weigh or not to Weigh: The Challenges of Weight Monitoring

In the sixth part of our series on disordered eating, Dr Carolyn Plateau from Loughborough University examines the challenges that coaches and coaching teams can face when discussing and monitoring weight with their participants, sharing hints and tips on how coaches and the wider coaching team can do this appropriately

There are many elements that contribute towards achieving the optimal sports performance, beyond the central sports-specific technical and fitness components. 

Weight is often considered a contributory factor to participant performance, particularly in physical activities and sports where being lean is considered advantageous, such as in: 

  • endurance sports (e.g., distance running) 
  • aesthetic sports (e.g., gymnastics or figure skating). 
  • weight category sports (e.g., boxing, lightweight rowing) 
  • anti-gravitation sports (e.g., high jump, pole vault). 

This perceived link between weight and performance can sometimes manifest in participants experiencing pressure to adhere to perceived ‘ideal’ body size, shape and weight from their team-mates, coaches, and the wider sporting environment.  

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