Why is sport important for girls?.

Written by Natalie Doyle

March 16, 2023

A group of child footballers with their hands in together in a huddle

The Youth Sport Trust’s Girls Active Survey finds that the PE ‘enjoyment gap’ for girls is widening. We hear stories of awful kit, playing sports they didn’t enjoy, making excuses to miss the lesson.  You may have even experienced some of these yourself. At Sport Sister, we work with a lot of organisations who are trying to change those early experiences for girls.  Making sure that those experiences are positive and encouraging a lifelong healthy relationship with sport and physical activity.  We know the health benefits of regular exercise, but what other things can come from taking part in sport?  Why is sport important for girls?

1. Confidence. Taking part in sport with your peers is a great way to build confidence in young girls. The process of overcoming a challenge or achieving something gives anyone a big boost in confidence.  Trying new things and seeing your skills improve also contribute to an increase in self-confidence. Learn more about how to use sport to build confidence in our blog post dedicated tot the subject.

2. Leadership skills. Building confidence also encourages girls to take a leadership role within their group.  If they feel more confident, they are more likely to feel able to put forward their thoughts and opinions and be more assertive.  We have a whole blog post dedicated to using sport to develop leadership skills which can give you some useful ideas.

3. Resilience.  We all know that taking part in sport inevitably means learning to deal with defeat and disappointment.  All children need to learn how to deal with disappointment, which is a necessary part of life.  Sport is a great way to teach them this lesson, building their resilience and determination to overcome the challenges that come their way.  This will be a valuable lesson if they continue in sport and also in other parts of their life, such as building a career, going for job interviews or developing healthy relationships in the future.

4. Communication skills.  Effective communication is a key part of life – for education, work, family and relationships.  The ability to communicate effectively can be developed by providing a safe sporting environment.  Girls especially will want to know why they are doing something.  Coaches can mirror effective communication by explaining their decisions to players, and encouraging feedback. The players can then be provided with opportunities to develop their communication skills with teammates, coaches and parents.

5. Compassion.  In the same way that children need to learn to deal with defeat, they can also learn to win with compassion and humility. Celebrating successes is important but consoling and encouraging your opponent shows amazing compassion.  I love this video from a few years ago from one of the Barcelona youth teams to demonstrate the importance of this.

Sport can provide so many opportunities for young girls, whilst also helping them stay active and healthy.  Many women I know developed some of the key skills they have from taking part in sport.  It’s not just about the physical benefits. If you want to learn more about this subject then check out our Sport Sister Podcast episode focusing on the importance of sport for girls. It’s one of our most popular episodes and contains a lot of great discussions around the topic.

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