Coaching: Differences between Male & Female Athletes

I have been asked several times over the last few years in regards to coaching if there is a difference in coaching women and men as it relates to the game of football. Being a former player at the semi-pro level and wholly believing that if anyone has a love of the game that they should be given every opportunity to play it, I would like to tell you that the answer is no. But I can’t, there is, at least in my experience and opinion a distinct difference in coaching and the approach needed in order to teach and motivate the players.

Like many women, when I started playing I had only ever been able to watch games on TV, play pickup or 2-hand touch or flag with my friends growing up and had no point of reference when it came to the technical aspect of football. On top of that, being asked to make athletic type movements in full equipment was almost comical, which early films of our games would confirm. Fast forward 11 years later and I can proudly say that the women’s team here locally, as well as most of the teams in the leagues nationwide, have progressed to a point where they are all now actually playing football.

So how does that happen? What has brought most of them to this point? Start by saying that most of us were athletes, whether just at the high school level or some at the collegiate level. Most of us were multi-sport, so it’s not like we weren’t used to different movements and had also had our share of different styles of coaches over the years. But football is vastly different for women who have never played the game before. It is violent, it is aggressive and it is very very physical. We may have played sports that allowed contact but we certainly never played any that encouraged it.

 

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