Thursday, February 02, 2012

Girls, Sports and Self-Esteem (part 2)

Apparently writing a blog takes a lot more time and energy than I had imagined!  I hope to be posting more often than weekly... so bear with me loyal followers. I am writing in my head every day and eventually the words will emerge!

Yesterday was National Girls and Women in Sport Day in the United States... I'm not sure if we have a Canadian version of this event but I'll keep you posted.   This reminded me that I haven't yet published my next post which is requiring plenty of research on my part to fully understand the link between sport and self-esteem for girls.  I'll have that up and ready for reading after the weekend. In the meantime, I am re posting this wonderful list from the Canadian Association for the Achievement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.  I first came across this when my daughter was only an infant.   If you read my previous post on Girls, Sport and Self-Esteem, you can imagine that it had never occurred to me that a biological child of mine would play sports.  I didn't have quite the same analysis then that I do now to understand how much my own lack of sporting interest was at least in part environmental.  I also forgot that I only contributed half the genes!  This article has stayed with me.  Years after reading it, when my sport-loving girl joined her first softball team I remembered...  "buy her good equipment" and we did.  I even went so far as to volunteer as a bench coach last season - a challenge that I hadn't ever dreamed of for myself. Ultimately I understood that my involvement would further enhance my daughter's engagement in the sport.  And if you, like me, don't really know what the heck you are doing when it comes to kicking a soccer ball or the finer points of pitching a softball - look for people who do.  Our extended family boasts two aunts who have contributed their skills and knowledge and time to my daughter's sport development.   

So here... I give you the list that inspired and shaped my own responses to my daughter's budding interest in sports.  You can also link directly to the PDF version here.

How Parents Can Encourage Girls to Play Sport 

Photograph your child being active.
  • Enlarge the photo.
  • Frame it.
  • Be proud of it!
Actively support your daughter's involvement in physical activity.
  • Buy her good equipment - not her brother's hand-me-downs.
  • Go and watch her games.
  • Consider volunteering.
  • Drive her to and from practices.
  • Make sure your daughter has time in her life to be active - don't make your daughter sacrafice her involvement in sport so she can babysit or do housework.
Take your daughter to the park and be active with her.
  • Help her learn the fundamental skills of running, throwing, catching and kicking.
 Be an active role model yourself. 
  • Mom's participation in sport increased participation rates of her child by 22%
  • Dad's participation in sport increased participation rates of his child by 11%
 Emphasize fun and fitness rather than competition and slimness
  • Encourage your daughter to try a variety of new activities and help her acquire the skills and equipment she needs to participate.
  • Avoid comments about your daughter's body size and shape.
  • Love and support her just the way she is.
  • Don't undermine her confidence and take the joy out of playing by telling her "she throws like a girl".  Help her to learn the skills she needs to enjoy sport.
Introduce your daughter to active women
All to often women in sport are viewed as cheerleaders, water girls or chauffeurs. Your daughter needs to be exposed to women who are athletes, coaches, officials and leaders in sport.
  • Buy sports books about women athletes.
  • Watch women's sporting events on TV with your daughter. 
  • Take your daughter to women's sporting competitions in your community.
  • Read the sports pages with her and follow the performances of Canada's great female athletes.
 Plan active vacations or weekend excursions
  • Try hiking, cross-country skiing or rafting. 
reprinted from: 
Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity

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