Today, it’s cool to be a “tomboy

With the increasing number of female sports stars coupled with more opportunity to play, young girls’ participation in sports has skyrocketed. Years ago, girls who loved sports had to play with the boys, and they were called “tomboys.” Today, it’s cool for a young girl to be a jock, and now that there are plenty of girl sports nuts, we simply call them “athletes.”

It’s just not young girls taking sports seriously today; their coaches are, too. As the popularity of girl’s sports has increased, so have the expectations of coaches. The bar has been raised. Youth coaches are eager to see their girls excel, and they expect them to show up and go at it like the boys – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

But are girls as prepared as the boys? Do girls enter youth sports at a disadvantage? Despite the increasing participation of women in sports, traditionally, boys still have more physical childhoods. All that running around, falling down, getting up helps boys develop coordination, balance, and body control. They enter organized sports having already developed a solid base of motor ability.

When children are confident in their overall physical abilities, it’s easier for them to grasp and then excel at sports skills. Simply put, they take to sports better.

As a parent, you can help your daughter prepare for sports by taking an active role when she’s young. Lead your child in a pursuit of physical adventure. Pull out the jump ropes, pogo sticks, Hula-Hoops. Reach into your memory for games like hopscotch, kick the can, and tag. All these “kid games” are still fun, addicting, and loaded with athletic developmental value.
But kids need to be turned on to them.

Girls don’t have to give up their traditional activities; they just need to get physical more often, not only to excel at sports later but to prevent sports injuries.

As a girls youth-sport coach, and it doesn’t matter what sport, you should include general agility and coordination drills in your practices. Some great drills for young girls include agility relay races. Have them run backward, shuffle, cross-over, and even wheelbarrow and somersault in relay teams.

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