Answered By Sara Hall
Sara, I've been coaching at an all boys school for severals years at the high school level and have a new job now at a public school where I am now asked to coach the girls track team this spring. I feel like a fish out of water and know it will be different but can you give me any advice on how to work with the girls?
I'll do my best! This is not always the case, but often times girls at the high school level enjoy running because of the social aspect of the sport. I would try to build comraderie within the team (and with the boys team as well) whether it is social functions, weekly traditions (we always went out for slurpees twice a month and our coach treated if you had 100% attendance), things that continue the "fun" aspect of the sport. Also, as a whole, I think women can be slightly more emotional and sensitive than guys ( I know this is a stereotype, yet I think it is often the case). I would refrain from yelling at them in races or getting too upset at them if they race poorly- that will only make them fear disappointing you. Lastly, high school girls' bodies often change a lot, and some coaches make small comments that leave lasting affects on the girls. Even if it would help a girls performance to lose a few pounds I would stay away from the subject all together. Just focus on healthy, athletic choices in eating. Hope that helps!