Ok, I need your help. I’d really like to hear your opinion.I know many of you coach or have coached. Are there differences in coaching boys and girls?If so, what are they? Please respond by voting in the poll and making a comment to this blog. If you’d rather not make a public comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll be sure to share your responses in a future blog.
5 Replies to “Differences Between Coaching Girls and Boys”
Coaching girls is much different than coaching boys. The in-team culture for girls is more important than that for boys, in that girls must like (or at least get along with) their teammates in order for the team as a whole to be successful, whereas boys focus more on “can this player help us win” regardless of any personal feelings they may have. Players on my girls’ teams would speak up if they felt that I was being unfair towards specific teammates (such as not taking freshmen on varsity due to an abundance of upperclassmen one year) and were more willing to go to administration if they personally felt slighted (such as the stripping of of a player’s captaincy because she went ineligible out-of-season) or if they disagreed with decisions made on their behalf (e.g. entering them in a 16-team tournament on Prom weekend despite discussing this with them before signing the contract the previous winter). The boys more or less accept decisions made.
I’ll likely be in a significant minority here. I have coached traveling youth soccer for 15 years, both genders, all playing levels, ages 9-18. In my experience, the experience of coaching boys and girls presents far more similarities than differences. Both boys and girls will work hard, develop skills, enjoy themselves, play aggressively, respond to positive reinforcement, and socialize.
Within any given team, there are often vast differences in all of those factors (and others) from player to player. That’s true regardless of whether the team is comprised of boys or girls. Again in my experience, the range of differences between individual players *within* a gender is far more significant than any cross-gender blanket differences.
I do, however, believe that many coaches and parents approach teams with a pre-disposed notion of differences, which then may cause them to treat the two genders somewhat differently. This may in turn elicit different behaviors from the players. However, in general I believe that if you treat them simply as players, ignoring the gender, they’ll react in virtually the same ways.
Dave & Scott,
thanks for your insights, they are much appreciated.-nml
I just stumbled upon this as I was searching from some information on women coaching girls v men coaching girls. As the girls coordinator for our town lacrosse league, I am convinced that girls can really thrive under the coaching of a woman. However, women coaches (mom’s) are few and far between. In our lacrosse program which ranges in age from 7-14, only 3 women coach in any capacity. All three women have as much, and in many cases, more actual coaching and playing experience than the majority of “dad” coaches. Do you have any thoughts on how to get the qualified “mom’s” on the field. Thanks
This is something we’ve been working on at The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. We’ve been interviewing youth sport moms to figure out strategies that might increase the liklihood of coaching. To see what we have so far, go to http://www.cehd.umn.edu/tuckercenter/projects/Mother-Coach%20Generated%20Strategies.pdf
I hope this helps. You can also visit our We Coach: Educating & Empowering Through Sport resources, http://www.cehd.umn.edu/MNYSRC/wecoach.html