While most girls don’t play football, there are confidence building skills that can be transferred to them through other activities. This occurred to me while watching a recent high school freshman football game. When the game started the players seemed a little nervous and the plays were a little rough around the edges. Then adrenaline kicked in and confidence started to build as they moved down the field and made their first touch-down. The players supported each other and I heard the coach tell the kids on the sidelines to support their teammates on the field.
The idea about how girls could take football lessons and apply them to build confidence became even more evident when a player made a mistake. One player was in the end zone ready to catch the ball when it slipped right through his arms and he missed the touchdown. He didn’t hesitate for one second-just ran back to the game and was ready to go again.
Taking this same situation, if the player had been a girl, the ability to shake it off might not have come as easily. She might have fixated on how she missed the ball instead of the incredible skill it took to evade a tackle and create an opportunity to make a touchdown. This mindset is described in the book The Confidence Code where a professional female basketball player talks about her focus on mistakes.
Five Confidence Building Lessons from High School Football
Ability to receive direct feedback-Coaches yell directions to the player and show footage after a game so the player learns from his mistakes and can improve.
Comradery with other players- There is a feeling the team has your back. Unless a girl is playing a team sport she may miss the chance to feel she can count on others to help her achieve success.
Focus on the greater good – the goal is to play and win together. Teen girls can feel isolated and may not know what it feels like to collaborate to reach a desired outcome.
Creating a strong bond with a parent – In a sport like football often the dad and son form a bond as they share a common interest. They also create friends with other parents and families through the involvement in the sport.
Ignore failure– One of the most important skills a football player learns is how to shake off a mistake and try same thing again and again.
Taking these skills and applying them to tween and teen girls isn’t always easy. The first thing is to find a place that has a group experience. It can be something like math counts, sports, odyssey of the mind, theater, music-band, orchestra or choir, or a debate team. Talk with the instructor about finding ways to bring some of the skills outlined above into the group-learning how to give and get feedback is one of the hardest things for girls and women to master and if they only learn that it is a huge leap forward toward building confidence.
Share with us how you think we can bring the confidence a team sport brings to teen girls on our Facebook page. We want to know what is important to you, take our survey and have a chance to win a Visa gift card.