Getting Girls to Keep With Sport

Coaching Girls Guide

How to Get Girls Playing—and Keep Them Playing

Girls want to play sports. They want to move, compete, take risks and feel like they're part of something. It's getting girls to the pitch or gym, making sure they have the right gear (think sports bras and hair ties) and keeping them playing that takes some work.

Experts say that girls do better physically, mentally, emotionally and socially when they get the chance to play. Yet, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys. For girls in urban communities and girls of colour, the numbers are even worse.

The good news is we can all do our part to get girls playing and help keep them playing. Girls need a few key things to create a positive, meaningful connection to sport:

  • Opportunities to be part of the team, compete, make friends and connect with teammates and the adults around them.

  • Role models are important too, like female coaches and people in their lives who celebrate female athletes. Girls who have these things are more likely to keep playing as they get older.

  • Finally, to keep them coming back and playing, we need to create a sports culture that includes and celebrates girls. This starts with the culture we create on our teams.

Nike is working with community partners and experts to reverse the sport drop-out trend. The adults in girls' lives can be champions and allies in this effort by creating positive experiences for girls on the court, at the track, on the pitch and anywhere else girls break a sweat. We've created this guide as a place for everyone to start. And, if you're looking for more tips, check out these tip sheets.

Setting her up for success

Getting Girls to Keep With Sport

Inspire Them to Love Sport

Inspire girls (and boys!) with examples of female athletes and women's teams. While you're at it, let girls make the space their own. If you've got a locker room, decorate it. Get girls involved in creating team names, banners and anything else that identifies them as part of the team.

Getting Girls to Keep With Sport

Think About Bias

Girls face different expectations than boys and sometimes that gets in the way. Ask yourself: is she cheered on as much as the boys? Is she seen as fragile? Is her behaviour viewed differently (is she "bossy" when a boy seems like a "captain"?). Take time to think about what you're doing to create a level playing field. At the end of each training session, ask yourself if you would expect anything different from the girls versus boys.

Getting Girls to Keep With Sport

Get Families Involved

Whether or not girls play is not always up to girls. It's important to engage parents and caregivers to take an active role in girls' participation. Encourage them to cheer for everyone at every training session. Host huddles that include family members. When families get invested, they're more likely to keep bringing the girls back.

Getting Girls to Keep With Sport

Learn more about how to empower girls in your community.

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