Our theme of the month is FUN! Keeping our team experiences fun, in addition to productive, is particularly important for girls.
Coaching is one of the biggest predictors of whether or not girls stay in sports. And, it turns out that a balanced coaching approach, focused on both fun AND skills/competition, is the approach that is most predictive of girls’ long term participation in sports.
We need to find this balance, because nationwide girls still drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys by age 14!!
Research shows that girls in sports want to acquire new skills and want to compete. But, even more importantly, girls in sports want to make and spend time with friends, and want to feel part of a team. Social relationships are critical to girls enjoying sports, sticking with it and, ultimately, feeling ready to challenge themselves in competition.
So take the time to use team building games (see Adventure Spotlight below) to build relationships within your team. Sprinkle them into practices throughout the season. Schedule ice cream rides and other fun practices to foster fun and relationships. Take a break from “descent repeats” (which are much more fun than hill repeats, lol) to have fun sessioning something.
Keep it fun, build strong relationships, and the rest of it–skills, competence, confidence, and performance–will fall into place.