Sports Parenting: Women In Short Supply In Coaching Ranks

By Jack Perry
The Providence Journal, R.I.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at the shortage of women’s coaches in youth athletics. Bottom line, when it comes to coaching, it’s not often you see a woman calling the shots.

The Providence Journal, R.I.

Youth sports is a man’s world — at least along the sidelines.

Whether the game is being played by boys or girls, or boys and girls, the adult pacing the sideline and shouting instructions, the coach, is usually a man.

Would girls benefit from having more female coaches?

At least one reader thinks so.

“My granddaughter has played three middle school sports and three high school sports and I don’t think she’s ever had a female coach,” he writes in an email. “I really think that young girls (women, people) would benefit from having an adult of the same sex to talk with about growing up issues, boyfriend, etc.”

He didn’t want his name used, because he didn’t want to be seen as criticizing his granddaughter’s coaches, none of whom did anything wrong, he said, but I thought he raised an issue worth exploring.

Yes, it would be great to see more women in coaching, say three women involved in sports and surveyed for this column, but they stressed that any coach, regardless of gender, must know the sport and how to coach.

“I think it’s important for girls to see women in the position of authority and to recognize that women have that level of skill and expertise,” says Melissa Perkins-Banas, a cross country coach and a clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in sports neuropsychology. “I think it can be helpful to have a good, strong role model.”

A shortage of coaching role models from previous generations is one reason there aren’t more women on the sidelines today, says Katie Cameron, the head swimming and diving coach at Bryant University.

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