A recent Gallup poll provides more good news for female student athletes and their parents. Researchers found that female former student-athletes outperformed other college graduates on important career and life outcomes. In fact, girls who played sports enjoyed even greater returns on their efforts than their male counterparts.
Take a look at what your daughters have to gain from athletics, and learn effective strategies for enhancing their performance both in the classroom and on the field. Parental involvement is key to helping girls reach their potential.
Benefits of Sports Participation for Girls
1. Succeed in the workplace. According to that Gallup poll, girls who played NCAA sports in college were more likely to be employed full time (62%) compared to the rest of the girls in their class (56%). They were also more likely to be engaged in their work.
2. Build confidence. The Gallup poll reinforces many other studies that have found that female athletes have higher confidence and self-esteem. Helping your daughter to feel good about herself prepares her for a more satisfying life.
3. Enjoy greater general wellbeing. The most dramatic findings of the Gallup poll were related to physical health. Among female athletes, 47% reported good health and high energy compared to 33% of female non-athletes. They were also more likely to say they had strong and loving relationships.
General Tips for Parents of Female Student Athletes
1. Teach time management. One of the greatest challenges your daughter will face is juggling academic and social activities while devoting adequate time to the sport she loves. Show her how to prioritize and stay organized. Discuss making choices and download a scheduling app.
2. Focus on learning. Pay attention to both studies and sports. Your child’s GPA may determine whether she’s eligible for a scholarship, and what she learns in school will definitely shape her future.
3. Give praise for effort. Your daughter may struggle with competitive pressures. Let her know you love her unconditionally. Recognize her hard work regardless of the results.
4. Develop healthy habits. Athletes put extra demands on their bodies, so special care is needed. Be a positive role model when it comes to nutrition and exercise.
5. Monitor stress and injuries. Kids often feel invincible, but chronic stress or playing with an injury can take its toll. Share relaxation practices like meditation or classical music. Be firm about taking time off to recover from sprains or muscle tears.
6. Talk about substance abuse. Popular kids may be even more likely to wind up in social situations where alcohol and drugs are present. Start early with presenting your child with age-appropriate facts. Rehearse how to respond to different temptations.
7. Spend time together. You’re a big influence in your child’s life. Listen respectfully to what they have to say. Set aside one-on-one time to bond more closely.
Recruitment Tips for Parents of Female Student Athletes
1. Broaden your options. However talented your child is, consider academics and social life as well as sports when you’re looking at colleges. Smaller schools may offer more advantages than the high profile colleges you think of first.
2. Create a video. A simple highlights video is one of the most efficient and effective tools for helping your child to be noticed. Post it on YouTube or send it to coaches.
3. Encourage independence. Remember that it’s your role to be supportive while your child decides where they want to spend their college years. You succeed as a parent when your daughter can stand on her own.
Girls who play sports face high hurdles, but score big wins when they manage to balance their athletic, academic, and social lives. As a parent, you can provide the guidance and support they need to fulfill their dreams.