Developing supportive environments for AFLW

The challenge

Underpinned by a desire to provide effective support to Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) players the research was designed to gain a deeper understanding of the environmental enablers and stresses through the lived experiences of participants.

Project overview

Using a qualitative research framework the research sought to explore the experiences of AFLW players, coaches, administrators and support staff across a number of clubs. Across 42 semi-structured interviews a range of themes were identified in relation to:

  • managing the club environment
  • player recruitment and retention
  • the AFLW season
  • team culture
  • player support
  • life outside the AFLW.

The implications associated with these themes were mapped onto the various layers of stakeholder engagement, namely:

  • competition governance
  • the club
  • the player.

The research proffered 16 recommendations aimed at improving the overall AFLW experience and better supporting players to achieve sustainable playing careers and successful post football transitions.


Player Development Best Practice Guide, policy settings, education and training provision, follow-up research. 


  • Australian Football League
  • Australian Football League – Players Association


AFLW, football, women in sport