There are many similarities between boys and girls that lead coaches to believe that it ‘really doesn’t matter’ which gender they coach. On one hand, yes, coaching is coaching. If you intend to stand there and deliver your coaching session then you can do that regardless of who you are coaching, however to really get to know you team/player there are a numbers of factors to consider.
Boys are very linear in their decision making and can understand and process information by building systems. They will want to jump straight in and try rather than having it explained to them. Girls will typically want to be presented with the entire picture and see how it can affect the outcome. Girls will typically understand the broader context easier meaning that you can show them a passing pattern for example and see it quickly replicated on the field. Boys will find it easier to practice a turn or move and try that on the field. Finally, boys will typically enjoy competition within their group whereas girls will likely ostracize the ‘star’ players. Be careful praising boys and girls.
Where boys will likely respond better to criticism, they do enjoy being praised. Interestingly, girls will take criticism to heart and it is hard for them to forget it. Boys will naturally assume you are referring to another player in the group if you criticize the team. Once again, be careful when singling out a player on the girl’s side for either praise or criticism as it can lead to negativity if the dynamic isn’t correct.
Working with Different Teams
When working with a boys team, and intense motivational approach will work, whereas girls will react better to a democratic approach. In line with this, you can focus more on the individual for the boys and the relationship between the players for the girls. Use encouragement a lot for girls, boys do not necessarily expect any. You must beware of familiarity between players and coaches also. Girls tend to enjoy the relationship between their coach and find it a necessary part of learning. Boys tend to prefer a more distanced approach.
“Practice like a girl, compete like a boy”
Andy Pearce - 23rd October 2015