It happens all the time. Because of our role as the leading voice for girls and women in sports, people come to us with the very same question: “How can I get my hesitant daughter (or sister or friend or granddaughter) to be more excited about participating in sports?” The answers are endless, but above everything else, we always encourage adults to be supportive, encouraging and active alongside their girls, leading by example with a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to help get and keep your girl in the game.
So when John Keilman, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, asked us this very question for an article published in last week’s Tribune, WSF CEO Kathryn Olson jumped at the chance to offer our unique perspective and expert guidance. Keilman, the father of an elementary-school-aged daughter who enjoys active play but hesitates at the thought of joining an organized team, saw first-hand the positive benefits his son reaped from playing sports. Like many, he wants his daughter to have those same life-shaping experiences.
“Kathryn Olson, CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation, said it can be helpful to look toward the sports played by a girl's friends or to search for female athletes who can serve as an example.
‘By age 14, we know girls drop out of sports at twice the rate boys do,’ she said. ‘Sometimes that's because of (a lack of) opportunity, but it's also because they're not seeing role models who are playing sports. They're seeing the role model of the tall, skinny (model) on the magazine cover.’"
Keilman also spoke to Irene Cucina, professor at the University in New Hampshire, and Nicole LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota. Find out what advice they had and read the full article here.