Last summer, I spent a month writing about the different things that I love about coaching. It’s an exercise I’d highly recommend for all coaches. I’m sure every one of us has moments when the grind threatens to get us down…that’s when we need to remember what we love about what we do. For me, one of those things is coaching female athletes.
Usually, when I tell someone that I love coaching female athletes, the person I’m talking to starts giggling. Granted, I’m a pretty funny lady, but that’s one topic I don’t joke about. During “I Love Coaching” month, I’ve been talking about the things that make my heart happy about this profession. One of the biggies, and certainly near the top of the list, is working with female athletes. So whether you think I’m crazy and need to be convinced or you totally agree…read on to find out three of the reasons that working with female athletes rocks my world!
3 things I love about coaching female athletes
Teaching the intangibles. All the stuff that this blog is about: leadership, team chemistry, goal setting, the mental side of our sport…I love, love, love working with female athletes on that stuff! Why? Because I firmly believe that women can get along work together well, they just need to be taught how to coexist on a team. I believe that when the coach firmly lays out their expectations for behavior on the team, their female athletes will fall into line. Will playing time be yanked if you find out your players have been gossiping, fighting, or bullying their teammates? I bet they’ll stop that nonsense right away if it is. Confronting negative behavior while giving them a model of appropriate behavior is what coaching is all about…whether it’s tangibles or intangibles.
Lifelong benefits of sport. Think about this: research suggests that girls who participate in sports are less likely to get involved with drugs, less likely to get pregnant and more likely to graduate from high school than those who do not play sports. Why? Because they’re accountable to a team and a coach…something bigger than themselves. They won’t do drugs because they know if they get caught, they can’t play. They’re less likely to get pregnant because their self-esteem doesn’t come solely from the attention they get from boys…they’re confident in themselves. They’re more likely to graduate from high school because their coach probably has minimums for participation and she wants to play…so she adheres to the guidelines. Isn’t that awesome?
Feel the love! Female athletes love “the team”. Female athletes are so relational and caring that they can genuinely revel in the successes of their teammates. Check out this picture of the Penn State volleyball team as they celebrate a victory. They physically connect with one another, their eyes are locked, they’re tuned in!
Now your job, Coach, is to sell your team on the fact that giving a correction to their teammate is loving that teammate. And that not accepting poor behavior off of the court is loving your teammate. Finally, that going all out every practice so that they can make each other better is loving their teammates.
Of course there are challenges associated with any team that we’ll coach, but those challenges shouldn’t be gender-based. If you’re coaching female athletes…consider yourself lucky!
Want more info on the topic? Check out my ebook, Coach Dawn’s Guide To Motivating Female Athletes.