It is a myth that “boys are more interested in sports than girls” – There is no research that shows that boys are more interested in sports than girls. We do know that girls are just as interested in sports as boys when they are young. A combination of lack of opportunity, lack of peer group support when they do play sports and lack of encouragement causes them to drop out of sports at a rate that is two times greater than boys. In addition, CAAAWS research shows that if girls have not played sport by the time they are 10 years old, they are very unlikely to participate later in life.
From the Women’s Sports Foundation…
Did you know that sports participation provides boys and girls with a lot more benefits than getting in shape and having fun?
The benefits of athletic participation for boys and girls are the same. There are additional sociological and physiological benefits for girls who play compared to those who don’t.
Benefits of sports participation for boys and girls
- Attain goals.
- Increase confidence.
- Learn how to deal with success as well as failure – self-esteem doesn’t depend on continually winning.
- Strong body can fight illnesses.
- Become graceful – sports teach balance, grace and poise, which carry over to other areas of life.
- Fight fat – one of the biggest reasons for fat is lack of exercise. Sports and exercise keep you trim and firm.
- Control anger and anxiety – exercise in nature’s best tranquilizer; it actually helps keep you calm!
- Eat and sleep better – proper nutrition and rest improve every area of life.
- Learn to take feedback – this is a lesson we all need to learn in order to improve performance.
- Overcome shyness – learn to be assertive, make decisions.
- Discover career and job opportunities that you didn’t know existed. Become CEO of a regional or national sport organization, strength and conditioning coach, sports doctor, manager of a professional sports team, sports communication or marketing specialist, CEO of a sports trust.
- Meet new friends; avoid boredom.
- Be able to talk to your friends about sports – a popular topic of discussion and interest.
How do girls and women benefit from sports vs. those who do not participate?
- Women who are active in sports and recreational activities as girls feel greater confidence, self-esteem and pride in their physical and social selves than those who were sedentary as kids.
- Research suggests that girls who participate in sports are less likely to get involved with drugs, less likely to get pregnant and more likely to graduate from high school than those who do not play sports.
- Half of all girls who participate in some kind of sports experience higher than average levels of self-esteem and less depression.
- One to three hours of exercise a week over a woman’s reproductive lifetime (the teens to about age 40) can bring a 20-30 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer, and four or more hours of exercise a week can reduce the risk almost 60 percent.
- The National Institute of Health reports that one out of every four women over 60 has osteoporosis (loss of bone mass). There is substantial evidence that weight-bearing exercise, e.g., walking, and calcium increases bone mass.
- High school girls who spend more time participating in sports also tend to have higher grades.
- Develop transferable skills such as leadership skills, teamwork, setting goals which are applicable beyond sport.