Coaches are often the most visible form of leadership and authority for sport participants. They have significant impact on the sport experiences of their athletes. Here are some things you can do as a coach to understand how women and girls feel about their experiences in sport and how to make their sport experience even better.
Take the opportunity to talk to your athletes about their experiences in sport. They are experts on their own experience and needs. Ask them, “why did you start playing sport, and have you ever wanted to stop?” Or “When is a time that sport made you feel strong? Has there ever been a time that you’ve felt like you didn’t belong?” For more questions, check out this infographic.
What was easy or fun about your own experience in sport? What was challenging about it? Who helped you along the way? Could your athletes answer these questions in the same way you did?
Watch how and what your athletes celebrate. For a lot of girls, fear of failure is a risk that discourages them from trying new things. Can you reduce fear of failure by celebrating not just success or winning, but personal bests or trying new techniques?
Do you know what motivates your athletes to keep playing? Do you know what injuries and barriers to watch out for? Learn how to create safe, strong, supportive environments based on research conducted with girls with the Keeping Girls in Sport e-module.
Do you know how to recognize and respond to signs of disengagement in your athletes? Do you know how to build a team culture that stops girls from disengaging in the first place? She Belongs offers practical recommendations to create social connection and better engage girls in the Learn to Train and Train to Train stages of the Long-Term Development in Sport and Physical Activity Framework (LTD).
Our recorded webinar on Redefining Risk Taking, where Andre Lachance, Women’s National Team Director with Baseball Canada, discusses tips and guidelines on how to foster a positive team culture that supports productive athlete development and goal setting.
Have another thought or resource to share?
Please reach out to Canadian Women & Sport at firstname.lastname@example.org!