Benefits of Participation in Sports for Girls

Spirit is Supportive of the Whole Athlete




If a girl does not participate in sports by the time she is 10, there is only a 10% chance she will participate when she is 25 years old. (Linda Bunker, VVA)

“The change in my daughter since her return from camp is remarkable. She is more directed, more confident and more willing to face new challenges.” - Mother of Hannah, MA
• High school girls who play sports are less likely to be involved in an unintended pregnancy; more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports.

• As little as four hours of exercise a week may reduce a teenage girl’s risk of breast cancer by up to 60%; breast cancer is a disease that afflicts one out of every eight American women. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1994)

• Forty percent of women over the age of 50 suffers from osteoporosis (brittle bones). (Osteoporosis, 1996) None of us should want our daughters to repeat the experiences of generations of women—our mothers and grandmothers—who were not permitted to play sports or encouraged to participate in weight-bearing exercises that are necessary to establishing bone mass.

• Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.

• Sport is where boys have traditionally learned about teamwork, goal-setting, the pursuit of excellence in performance and other achievement-oriented behaviors—critical skills necessary for success in the workplace. In an economic environment where the quality of our children’s lives will be dependent on two-income families, our daughters cannot be less prepared for the highly competitive workplace than our sons.

It is no accident that 80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former “tomboys”-having played sports.

• Loyalty to your teammates is very important. Many women don’t understand it when a man who is not doing his job is protected rather than dismissed. Boys learn from sports that every person on the team has a role to play. Even the players who sit the bench are positive forces on the team as long as they are good sports and encourage teammates who play. Players who are satisfied sittingthe bench and waiting their turn to play are valued because they promote team harmony by not complaining. Not everyone can be successful players. Few men will criticize their teammates. They will always promote the strength of their teammates and not mention weaknesses. Women who don’t play sports are much more critical of each other and much more likely to point out a teammate’s weaknesses if asked to do so. When women do this in business organizations, they are perceived as disloyal.

• Winning and Losing has nothing to do with you as a person. In sports and in organizations, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sport gives you experience so you learn to win graciously and accept defeat without blowing the experience out of proportion.

• Women without sports experience are disadvantaged in the work setting.

• Girls and women need encouragement and aspirational role models.

* Released by the Women’s Sports Foundation, www.WomensSportsFoundation.org, 2013
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