There seems to be a stereotype out there these days that coaching girls’ high school basketball is not as glamorous or as valuable as coaching high school boys’ basketball. Of course, this faulty thinking usually comes from people that have never coached girls. It is important to know whatever gender you are coaching, all your athletes should be treated like basketball players. Do not think because you are coaching girls that you should make concessions for them in any way. No way! Girls want to become better basketball players. They want to become better athletes under your tutelage, so give them the best coach you can be.
This false thought process may stem from the age-old comment that a boy “throws like a girl.” What does that mean for a girl? It should mean that throwing like a girl is natural for a girl; it was how they were built. But, the comment seems to come off as a negative for the boy who is caught throwing incorrectly. Maybe he was just taught wrong and needs some help. It seems he might need a coach. Any coaches around?
Another stereotype is that girls are princesses who are too delicate for sports. This quote helps redefine a female athlete: “Sweat Dries. Blood clots. Bones heal. Suck it up, Princess.” Women are strong, but so many do not give them credit for their toughness. As a coach, there may be a time you will have to help reshape a young woman into an athlete, and help them see how tough they actually can become. Personally, I love encouraging my girls’ basketball team to get on the floor and get some bruises or floor burns. I always joke that I have a Gatorade and some Ice Hot for the athlete with the battle scars, but that is the kind of girls’ basketball team I want playing for me each and every game.
If there is one distinction when coaching boys and coaching girls, it may be how they take constructive criticism and praise. Usually, boys feel that a coach is praising or criticizing their game, but not them individually. On the other hand, girls can feel that a coach is criticizing them as a person, and this can cause hurt. This is not the universal truth for all boys and girls, but, as a coach, you will learn quickly how your different players react when you coach them.
One tip that might help with correcting, criticizing, or praising involves you having this communication individually, when it comes to girls’ basketball. Having this conversation personally, instead of around teammates, can cause less stress among the team. Because, a lot of times, public praise and criticism can cause a negative ripple effect through the team. For example, if you praise one player, another player might feel excluded, causing the hurt player to dislike the player that was praised and the coach as well.
No matter how you coach your team, remember that your girls’ are athletes and they deserve you treating them as such.
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