Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is Just Playing Her Sport Enough For Your Daughter?

Q: I’ve heard how hard your volleyball players work out and I wish my high school players were that dedicated! What’s your secret? I have pushed weights and stretching, but their interest is still low. Any suggestions?

A: Thanks for looking for the best way to train your girls! If enough coaches help spread the message of proper nutrition, training, and rest, our female athletes will reach whole new levels of achievement.

I’ve worked with girls of all ages and skill levels and am in the position to have a good view of the current trends and training mindset for female athletes.

Participation in women’s sports has grown in both acceptance and sheer numbers thanks to women’s rights movements and Title IX.

I’m a huge fan of fitness, sports, adventures, and old-fashioned playing outside. And all girls will benefit physically, mentally, and socially from sport participation.

But even though the number of female athletes has increased, female sports lag behind male sports in a number of areas. This is a mindset issue, not a money and administrative support issue.

The main thing holding our girls back is their lack of a “training mindset.”

You see, boys are taught that nutrition, resistance training, and sprinting are essential if they want to improve.

So the boys are training while the girls are often only playing their sport. “Just playing” is NOT enough to bring a girl to her full athletic potential! “Just playing” increases the number of games played, but also increases the chances of injury as a result of a less physically prepared body.

Parents are often unwitting accomplices in this. They encourage their sons to hit the weights but never realize that resistance training is meant for girls too.


What, you ask, needs to be understood before mindsets will start to change?

Here’s the truth:

1. Physical training will not slow girls down (Actually, NOT training will)
2. Physical training will not stunt a girl’s growth (Actually, NOT training will)
3. Physical training is not going to make a girl grow a mustache (Actually, NOT training will)

This is what coaches, parents, athletes, and administrators need to know about proper physical training for girls:

1. Physical training will improve athletic performance (Making time spent working on technique more effective)
2. Physical training will decrease the chance for injury
3. Physical training will lead to improved self-esteem
4. Physical training will lead to better body composition (less fat and more lean muscle)

Just get straight on this and help me to reach all of the misinformed girls and parents who are out there.

If we all work together, I’m sure that the “training mindset” for girls will spread like a wildfire!

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