Soccer Girls Problems and How To Coach Girls

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Is it surprising that girls and women regularly underestimate their abilities and intelligence? It’s the opposite for boys and men who often overestimate theirs.

Katelyn Cooper, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, and her team asked 250 undergraduate biology students about their intelligence as compared to their peers.

“I would ask students about how their classes were going and I noticed a trend,” Cooper said. “Over and over again, women would tell me that they were afraid that other students thought that they were ‘stupid.’ I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes, so I wanted to study it.”

She found that men are 3.2 times more likely than women to believe they are smarter. On average, a man has a 61% chance of believing he is smarter than his colleagues, while a woman has only a 33% chance.

This confidence disparity by gender is not just true for biology students. Girls (and women) also underestimate their abilities across the board from academics to the workplace to sports. And, also notable, is that boys (and men) are the complete opposite, often believing that they are better than they actually are.

Read the rest here.

Continue reading “We’re in Soccer Girl Problems: GIRLS, CONFIDENCE AND GIVING FEEDBACK”

When Girls Keep Quitting a Team

Thank you for your tweets Jared Fritz! His daughter’s high school coach’s coaching style resulted in losing 10 teammates. He tweeted to us:

From my daughter “I feel that the coaches do not really care about making people feel wanted” As a dad, how do I encourage her to still play?

We wondered if the coach was overwhelmed? Perhaps the coach needed an assistant coach, or a parent team manager? Also we wondered if his daughter had friends on the team and that would motivate her to stay on the team.

Has friends on the team. Coach has an assistant. Likely needs help with relating and motivating to HS Girls. Has been explained his philosophy chasing kids away. Mine another in a long line

Unfortunately, the coach simply seems to have a philosophy of weeding out players. We responded that if the coach seems the attrition as a issue and is concerned, then our book might help. If not, our advice would be to go above to his boss to point out the problem.

His most recent tweet makes us so happy!


Women in Sports Today: Female Coaches Are The Final Frontier

The turning point for women in sports was Title IX, a federal civil rights law in the U.S., passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five.*

Similarly, there were almost no college athletic scholarships for women 40 years ago. Now, almost 200,000 women play college sports, and many of those athletes get scholarships. But there is still significant work to be done. The playing field is still not equal despite Title IX.

Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Title IX co-author, for whom the law was renamed in 2002.

Girls (and boys) of color still lack access sports.** This is an issue of poverty that also affects children who are not of color. The rise of club sports monetizes youth development in sports, shutting out those who can’t pay to play. And, the path to playing sports in college is often determined by the ability of parents to pay for development. Continue reading “Women in Sports Today: Female Coaches Are The Final Frontier”

We are in Soccer America!

Soccer America: Coaching Girls: How to deliver feedback effectively


Coaching Girls: How to deliver feedback effectively

by  ,  ,Feb 28, 2018

Mia: My daughter’s club volleyball coach is amazing; he thanks players for running for an out of bounds ball that they have no hope of getting. They would walk through fire for him. I asked him when we headed over to the team dinner one night if he had always coached this way. He told me that he used to be the kind of coach who was the hardest on the most promising player, but he learned that you can’t coach girls in that way.

Continue reading “We are in Soccer America!”


Soccer American Today

We are thrilled to have a chapter of HOW TO COACH GIRLS featured in Soccer America!

Soccer American Today


The clique factor — how coaches can mix it up to make a stronger team

Mia: An issue for my middle daughter when she played club soccer was carpools. The problem was that she was the only person on her team from her town. There were three other carpools based on location and then a few girls who were also the only ones from their town. It wasn’t that the girls from town carpools were inherently mean or exclusive or catty … but they came into practice as group who carpooled together, and most had played together for years on town teams together. They talked about people who went to their school who no one else knew. And, on the field, one group had a — most likely unconscious — tendency to pass to each other.

Continue reading “We’re in SOCCER AMERICA!”

How to keep girls in the game after puberty

From CNN:

How to keep girls in the game after puberty

“Seven out of the 10 girls who quit sports during puberty said they didn’t feel like they belonged in sports, according to the survey of more than 1,000 girls ages 16 to 24. Nearly the same number (67%) said they felt that society doesn’t encourage girls to play sports.

Hoping to change those numbers and keep more girls in the game, Always has come out with the latest installment in its viral #LikeAGirl campaign:

Nearly seven out of 10 girls in the Always survey said there are not enough female role models in sports today. Continue reading “How to keep girls in the game after puberty”

How Lack of Female Coaches Affects Kids

From The Atlantic:

The Field Where Men Still Call the ShotsThe Field Where Men Still Call the Shots

The lack of female coaches in youth sports can make lasting impressions on boys and girls.

“When you only see men in positions of power, you conclude ‘sports are not for me.’”

“Much attention and worry has been devoted to the decline of female coaches at the collegiate level since Title IX was passed in 1972. This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in all educational programs that receive federal funds, and its passage compelled colleges to ramp up the number of athletic teams for girls to stay on par with what they offered boys.

While nudging a record number of girls into athletics, Title IX also contributed to an unexpected and steady drop in the number of female collegiate coaches of women’s teams, from 90 percent in 1972 to 43 percent in 2014. In response to Title IX, many colleges combined male and female athletic departments, which in turn often meant that men now oversaw women’s teams; the law also meant pay parity for women’s-team coaches, the now-lucrative salaries attracting male coaches to female sports. These phenomena, among others, pushed women out of college coaching.”

More generally, girls who see just males in charge of teams may develop the distorted belief that leadership roles are reserved for men—and that aspiring to lead means adopting a masculine style of governance.

Read entire article here.

Continue reading “How Lack of Female Coaches Affects Kids”

AYSO Adopts Silent Saturday Policy

AYSO Adopts Silent Saturday Policy

From AYSO58:

AYSO Adopts Silent Saturday Policy

What is Silent Saturday?

“Silent Saturday” has been instituted in AYSO Regions throughout the country finding a great deal of success. Its main purpose is to just let the kids play and have fun without having to worry about how their performance is affecting the adults on the sidelines. “Silent Saturday” is a throwback to the old schoolyard days when kids would get together after school and on weekends just to play the sport all day without regard to who was winning and repercussions for poor play and decision-making.

The objectives of holding a “Silent Saturday” are:

• To reemphasize that the game is about letting the kids play and have fun.

• To give the players a chance to play totally on their own.

• To eliminate the verbal questioning of the referees’ decisions.

• To help the few parents and coaches who feel they must provide constant direction to understand that the kids can play very well on their own with limited instruction.

While the vast majority of adult verbal participation is intended to be positive and constructive, the fact of the matter is that games can (and have in the past) become so loud that the players often have difficulty hearing each other on the field. Taking one week off from any verbal interference may help adults’ gain perspective on just how loud they’ve been in the past. Continue reading “AYSO Adopts Silent Saturday Policy”

Playing Time

starting time

With my same middle daughter, I’ve experienced two kinds of playing time issues. When she was in kindergarten soccer, she would not play at all if I was near the field. Instead, she would want to sit on my lap. I was banned most of the season in order to get my daughter to play by the coach, my husband. When she was older and playing club soccer, she was very cognizant of playing time. Starting and playing time was a proxy for the social pecking order of the team. It’s the perceived relationship of starting/playing time and social status on the team that coaches should be aware of. Even mixing up the starting line up once a season, signals to the players that everyone is valued, and that there are no “favorites.”

starting time

Playing Time

It’s important for the coach to give a pre-season message about playing and starting philosophy. I believe that for kids U12 and younger, every player should have equal playing starting and playing time. They should also play different positions.

Continue reading “Playing Time”

Parent Code of Conduct

Parent Code of Conduct

70% of kids drop out of organized sports by age 13. As parents, what we say during the game and especially on the ride home heavily influences how our kids feel about their experience. Are we focusing on having fun versus winning? Are we coaching from the sidelines when we are not actually the coach? Do our kids feel like mistakes are learning opportunities?

I think we’ve all been on the sidelines and witnessed parents yelling at referees or worse. The only way to curb bad behavior is to have the coach set clear expectations of parent expectations. And to enforce this code of conduct? My daughter’s soccer coach would call a mandatory meeting for all parents after a practice every time there was an infraction. This was extremely inconvenient for the parents of kids in carpools. After one such meeting, parents would remind other parents on the team of the rules during games because no one wanted to attend more meetings about the Parent Code of Conduct.

Parent Code of Conduct

Parent Code of Conduct

Setting clear parent expectations at the start of the season goes a long way into creating a positive team atmosphere. As part of your Team Orientation Packet, include a Parent/Athlete Code of Conduct and have both the parents and athlete sign an agreement. This is an opportunity to set clear expectations and goals for the team, both athletes and parents. You might want to start with overall goals such as:

  • Having fun.
  • 100% of kids on the team singing up to play this sport again next season.

I think it’s important for parents to know that girls drop out of sports six times the rate than boys according to the Center for Disease Control, and thus the goal of having fun and continued participation are actually quite ambitious goals. But how do kids define “fun” with regard to sports?

In a 2014 George Washington University study, 9 of 10 kids said “fun” is the main reason they play sports. Out of 81 reasons kids said sports were fun, “winning” ranked as 48. Young girls gave “winning” the lowest ratings.

In the 2014 George Washington University Study, the top six things that kids find the most fun in sports are:

  1. Trying your best.
  2. When the coach treats the player with respect.
  3. Getting playing time.
  4. Playing well together as a team.
  5. Getting along with your teammates.
  6. Exercising and being active.

“Winning” ranked 48th out of 81 factors defining fun in sports by kids. In young girls, “winning” ranked even lower. It’s clear that “having fun” is not related to “winning” in the eyes of the athletes. Parents need to understand that pressure to perform creates a negative environment and is a high contribution factor towards kids quitting sports before high school.

That’s where a Parent Code of Conduct can set expectations and even educate parents on what’s important to you, as the coach.

For more, please get How to Coach Girls book out March 2018.

p.s. To learn more about How To Coach Girls, check out Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It’s available for purchase here.

How To Coach Girls Alison Foley Mia Wenjen coaching book for girls