Our female student-athletes hear lots of doom and gloom stories about what their professional careers will look like after graduation. Whether it’s the glass ceiling or balancing career and family, they are understandably nervous as they try to figure out what they’ll do post-playing career. Here’s how we can help alleviate some of those fears.
3 areas we can help our female athletes as they prepare for the future
Have high ambitions. According to the article, New Research Busts Myths About the Gender Gap, there is a perception among business professionals that women are less ambitious than men.
How we can help: We can teach our athletes not to accept mediocrity. Much like we preach that they can’t “turn it on” come game time, it’s the same thing with having high goals for themselves. If they have high goals for themselves on the court, in the weight room, and in the classroom…why wouldn’t they have high ambitions for themselves in the board room? Once again I have to toot my athletes-are-more-prepared-for-the-real-world horn.
You can have a career and family. And not just a career, but your dream career. Every once in a while, a student will plop down in a chair in my office and wonder if they can have it all. They don’t put it that way, but they wonder aloud if they can have that job they’ve dreamed about for years if they also have the spouse and family they’ve also dreamt about for years.
How we can help: I usually talk to them about my career and family choices. I get to do a job that I love and make a difference in young people’s lives…I can’t imagine doing anything else! I’ve also got a husband who is more than willing to help out at home and who (more importantly) has a large family network where we live. So when I’m out recruiting and he’s off working, grandma can step in and babysit. As coaches, we’ve got to nip those “I’ll never be able to balance it all” worries in the bud before they get cemented as real thoughts.
Understand sponsorship. Mentoring is a popular buzz word these days, but more and more, folks are saying sponsorship is much better than mentorship. Mentoring means giving advice whereas sponsoring means putting in a good word for someone with higher ups. Mentoring is saying, “I’ll email you with a list of common interview questions.” Sponsoring is saying, “I worked with that AD a few years ago, let me give her a call and tell her you’d be an asset to her department.”
How we can help: Let’s show them what it looks like. Perhaps we can set up networking events on campus where our athletes can hob nob with the administrative folks on campus who are the decision makers. As coaches, we’ve got to make sure that we keep up our end of the bargain by having great relationships all over campus, so that when we need to call in a favor…the phone gets answered.
The choices women have are too numerous to detail, let’s be sure we help our athletes to keep every post-competition option as a true option for themselves.
Like this post? Check these out!