Coaches Whiteboard: Celebrating Strong Girls in Sport

Okay, let's face it... GIRLS ROCK! Not that we feel like we have to prove it... but if we had to it's easy as 1-2-3.

1. Serena Williams just won her 23rd grand slam tennis title (more than any boy, just saying)!
2. The US Women's Soccer team won the 2015 World Cup to continue their world-wide dominance.
3. At the Rio Olympics, U.S. Women took home over 50% of all medals received by U.S. athletes with headlining names like Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Allyson Felix.

To say these athletes are trailblazers in their respective sports is an understatement. They have paved the way for athletes to come. Behind every athlete is a team of coaches and supporters that have molded them into not only strong athletes but also strong women. Our goal at Kids in the Game is to empower all our kids to be trailblazers in their own right. To celebrate National Girls and Women in Sport Day we wanted to share how sports have positively influenced us and how we are passing that along to the next generation of girls in sport.

Rachel Bender, KING Spikes Coach

"I would argue that sports and athletics, for all genders, help to foster a sense of empowerment, body and self awareness, self confidence, self esteem, and purpose.  Sports can also greatly increase one's sense of belonging and ability to relate with their teammates or peers.  Girls are not always given the same opportunities in the classroom and extracurricular activities when compared to male peers.  Additionally, societal gender norms may subtly (or not so subtly) push girls to conform to the way others want them to behave or act.  Being involved in girls sports is one way for girls to develop the skills at a young age to take on various dynamic environments in their futures.

Girls in Sports Week is important because it highlights female achievements in the sports world that may get brushed off or not as often highlighted as compared with their male counterpart achievements.  Girls Athletics is also one safe and welcoming area of their lives that allows and encourages them to foster their competitive spirit and strong personal voices.

Tiana Rosa, Kids in the Game Coach
"Being a woman in sports means being absolutely fearless. Personally, I loved playing sports because I loved being a teammate. As long as I had my teammates, I was ready and willing to go to battle. Leaving my best efforts there on the court. Giving my all, no matter the competition is what being a girl in sport is all about."

Tatum Boehnke, Kids in the Game Coach

"I couldn't imagine my childhood without sports. Every spare moment was filled with soccer, swim, and ski practice for as long as I can remember. Beyond fostering my work ethic, time management skills, and giving me some of my best friends for life, I gained skills that I didn't even realize I had until my adult years. All those years of jumping into a pool at 5 in the morning have molded me into the person I am today and for that I am forever grateful for having the opportunity to be a "girl in sport"."

Alexandra Cosme, Kids in the Game Coaching Intern
"Coaching helps me feel like I'm making a difference in young lives. In a few years, when they're doing something or accomplishing something, they'll be able to think back and say "oh, I know how to do this because coach Alexandra showed me or taught me".

Cara Hudson, Kids in the Game Coach
  "Sports have been my life since I could remember. I grew up with two parents who were amazing athletes, so it was in my genes. Being a woman in sports not only helped me bond with my family (my dad taught me how to throw my first spiral!) but it also helped me learn the concept of a team. Learning at a young age how to work with others and how to strive to be better every day made me who I am today. Being a woman in sports helped me learn that being strong is beautiful and we are just as good as the boys. Young girls should not be afraid to show their strength, not just physically but mentally as well."
Amy Dahmen, Coach Across America Coach with Kids in the Game

"When I entered school, I epitomized the term "girly girl". The worst punishment my parents could give me was to tell me I couldn't wear a dress or a skirt to school. I'm not joking - I would beg for them to take away my barbies, take away time playing outside. My resolve about adhering to all of the girly-girl cliches you can imagine coincided with a strong distaste for traditional sports. Anything game that involved a ball or hand-eye coordination wasn't for me. I did, though, love dance and cheerleading - these just didn't factor into the PE that I learned in school. My distaste for sport - or my limited scope of "sport" - only intensified as I got older - I just didn't know what was right for me. It wasn't until college when I was able to take yoga and pilates electives that the fitness game radically changed for me. I had the most incredible teacher, Kelly, who helped me and my peers to find joy in movement; in knowing, stretching and strengthening our bodies. A foundation was laid there that made me re approach sport and fitness. I found a comfort and confidence through exercise that I hadn't known before. Also, having Kelly as a coach inspired me to approach my yoga practice with a new kind of dedication, one that allowed me to laugh at myself and welcome the epic fails of attempted poses. These traits of confidence and gentle, forgiving dedication have been integral in the shaping of my faith, my adult character, and my approach now as a coach. It motivates me so much each day that am instilling these traits in young people who will lead us tomorrow."

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