Female Athletes and Coaches

There are increasing opportunities for women to compete in sport. Unfortunately the training and preparation has not kept pace with the opportunities to compete. Female athletes need different training programs than men. From an endocrine hormonal perspective and a socio cultural perspective women are different and these differences must be accounted for in training and preparation. Women are certainly more susceptible to certain injuries, specifically ACL tears; this demands that prevention programs be incorporated in daily training. To do otherwise would be remiss. There is still much misunderstanding on the role of strength training with the female athlete. Some athletes and coaches just do not recognize its importance. Culturally in many circles it is not acceptable for women to be muscular and fit. For the female athlete to receive proper training these barriers need to be broken down.

There is no doubt that there is a need for more qualified women in coaching. We need to do everything we can to encourage qualified females to coach. The time commitment and lifestyle serve to dissuade many women because of family obligations and the general socio cultural attitude toward women in coaching. It was interesting to see the 2005 Women’s NCAA basketball final with the final two teams coached by women for the first time. Why did it take so long? Women need positive role models as coaches. They need to be mentored. The typical approach has been to take the outstanding female athlete and when she retires have her go into coaching. This approach sets them up for failure. They need to be trained as coaches. You do not just flip a switch and go from being an athlete to a coach. Ability to excel in a sport seldom equates with coaching success. They need to be educated and mentored so they can truly coach. There are few women in the field of athletic development for many of the same reasons.


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