20 Simple Ways To Get Girls Involved In Sports
When girls are involved in sports at an early age, they are more likely to stay involved in athletics in their adult life. Here are some ideas to give girls an opportunity to try new sports or to get involved for the very first time.
1. Invite high school girl athletes to come to the elementary school, park or church to give a clinic.
2. Get the parents involved. Send out flyers about youth athletic associations (Little League softball/baseball, soccer, field hockey).
3. Start a Big Sister/Little Sister Athletic Club that pairs an older girl with a younger girl. The older athlete can bring the young girl to a practice, attend sporting events with her, practice drills and teach her the basics of one or more sports.
4. Hold a school-wide Olympics based on girls moving from station to station learning the basics of several different sports. This gives girls an opportunity to try a new skill in the safety of a fun, group-oriented event.
5. Take a class or team to a high school/college/professional women's basketball, soccer or volleyball game. Afterward, go out for pizza or sandwiches and encourage the girls to talk about what they think it's like to be a female athlete. What are the challenges? What are the rewards? What do you have to do to succeed?
6. Host a Gym Lock-In in which girls from a class or team each invite a friend who is not currently on the team. The girls spend an evening in the school gym and play a variety of sports in a non-threatening atmosphere. Parents, coaches and older female athletes are there to encourage and teach.
7. Invite a well-known local female athlete (such as a player who has gone on to play her sport in college) to an "Evening with ______." Make it an informal carry-in dinner during which the female athlete shares her experiences and the young girls are able to ask questions.
8. Hold a Dream Big Poster Contest. Open to all K-8 girls, the contest invites girls to draw a poster that shows how they dream big. Prizes can be awarded by age group, most original theme, or all participants can vote on a winner. First prize can be tickets to a sporting event or a sports clinic.
9. Sponsor a bus trip to a nearby arena to watch female athletes play.
10. Have "Olympics" parties during the next Olympics. Girls have the opportunity to watch a variety of sports and discuss how they can get involved.
11. Sponsor an informal panel of adult women discussing the benefits of athletics. The panel could include a physician discussing the physical benefits of sports, a successful executive talking about how sports teaches one to work for her goals, etc. Invite church youth groups and other community sports teams to participate.
12. Form a girls' sports club. Girls who play all sports come together to teach each other about the sports they play. Girls can earn points by learning new skills, bringing a friend who doesn't play sports, etc. Let the girls brainstorm ways to get girls involved in sports.
13. Have girls interview older female athletes (high school, college) and find out how they got interested in sports, what their days are like, etc. The girls then write articles that run in the school paper.
14. Rotate having different teams show off their skills during in-school assemblies or during PTA/PTO meetings.
15. Hold a T-shirt design contest that promotes participation in sports. Have the T-shirts produced through a local silk-screen shop and sell them as a fund-raiser for your team or club.
16. Promote the Presidential Physical Fitness program, or another fitness club. Encourage all girls to participate, whether they are on a school sports team or not. Over the course of the school year, the girls' progress is measured in a variety of basic fitness and sports skills. Give special recognition to girls who make the most improvement or girls who have never tried a sport before.
17. Have a girls basketball (or any sport) tournament that's held during recess. Girls sign up in teams and the tournament lasts over a period of weeks. This will not only promote girls' athletics, but will help to create camaraderie between individual grades and students.
18. Work with local Brownies or Girl Scout groups to organize sporting events through those organizations. Find out which activities can earn the girls badges and hold tournaments, clinics, etc., in which older, more experienced girls teach the younger girls.
19. Host a mother-daughter clinic on a Saturday morning. In the gym, set up sports stations that the mothers and daughters rotate through. Together, they learn basic skills for a variety of sports, plus a few simple drills they can do together at home.
20. Encourage girls to be active, even at very early ages. Ask parents to play catch with their daughters, or to bring younger siblings to their older child's sports practices. When several younger children get together at a practice, they're soon kicking a ball or inventing a game of their own. This impromptu activity can help build confidence and coordination and helps get younger kids interested in trying sports.