Keeping girls in sports activities important for overall health
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities in partnership with the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS) (www.caaws.ca) and the Coaching Association of Canada (www.coach.ca) have developed an online learning resource called Keeping Girls in Sport.
Keeping Girls in Sport is an online resource that teaches coaches and youth activity leaders how to create safe and respectful environments for girls and ultimately help girls stay enrolled and engaged in sport and physical activity. You can learn more by watching the video “Keeping Girls in Sport: Coaching Resource” on YouTube.
This online resource has been created because the statistics for girls’ participation in sport and physical activity show low participation rates and high dropout rates. Did you know that if a girl isn’t participating in sport by the age of 10 there is only a 10 per cent chance she will bephysically active at age 25? What’s more is that even if girls are involved in sport before age 10, there is a sharp decline in participation when they enter their teen years. Their overall participation drops by 22 per cent and school sport participation drops by almost 26 per cent.
Yet we know that there are many benefits to participating in sport, recreation and physical activity. So, what can we do to support girls’ participation in sport and recreation? CAAWS has some suggestions:
• Encourage the “next generation” of female enthusiasts by supporting a sport environment that is diverse, welcoming and fun professional positions and related roles
• Launch and promote free and low-cost community female-only sport opportunities such as open houses or try-it days to expose diverse females to new sports in a safe and supportive environment.
• Focus on fun, pleasure and challenge of participation, considering the age and abilities of participants
• Schedule time for sport and physical activity, recognizing the importance of sport participation for physical, mental and social health
• Help build girls’ confidence in sport by focusing on fundamental movement skills such as kicking, running, jumping, catching and throwing, before introducing fundamental sport-specific skills
• Encourage girls to join and continue to play, coach and officiate a variety of sports from youth into their teens and adulthood
• Support elite female athletes by attending and watching events, and following athletes on social media.
• Promote and share female sport news stories that focus on athletic skills, healthy living champions, accomplishments
For a full list of suggestions please see the CAAWS report on the status of female sport in Canada titled Women in Sport: Fueling a Lifetime of Participation. Further resources to support effective programming for girls can be found at www.caaws.ca/cs4l/.
Desirea Agar is a health promotion coordinator at Medicine Hat Community Health Services and can be reached at email@example.com