Young Girls’ Participation in Sport is a Recipe for Life Long Fitness
Updated: Oct 5
Like many sports, basketball is often thought of as a ‘boys’ activity’ however this isn’t the case at all. Playing basketball is something that many girls and women excel at and the sooner you can encourage them to give it a try, the more likely they are to maintain a life long love of fitness. Cultivating a love of physical activity when girls are entering their adolescent years will help encourage them to stick with it throughout their teen and adult years as well.
An early physical activity routine preps girls for life
The Rally Report, a research study that explores trends in sports participation in youth with an emphasis on girls between 6 and 18, works to inform families about some of the realities about girls in sports. It’s found that over 30% of girls leave sports by the time they reach early adolescence, with over 60% of girls choosing not to play at all. It also shows that if girls don’t begin to play by the time they reach 10 years old, there is only a 10% chance that she will maintain physical activity into her 20s. This data indicates that it is essential that we encourage girls to join a sport like basketball early, and find ways to keep them engaged through their adolescent years. The benefits of playing sports will have life long effects as they grow older.
Make physical fitness a habit
As with most things in life, the earlier they become a habit, the more likely they are to stay a priority throughout the years. Teaching young girls to include physical activity into their daily lives is a great way to set them up for a life long interest in physical fitness. Some of the most successful habits are created when kids are young and impressionable, so incorporating time each day to shoot hoops, practice dribbling and learning some basic skills can turn a mild interest into an enjoyable habit and hobby very quickly.
Although playing basketball has traditionally been a male dominated sport, there is a huge movement to encourage girls to get on the court and learn to love the game. The benefits of playing basketball are significant for girls of all ages, so getting them on the court young can create a great base for lifelong fitness.
With so many sports options available to youth they are able to chose a sport that resonates with them. It’s encouraging to learn then, that according to the Rally Report, basketball boasts the highest participation of any team sport in Canada amongst girls aged 12 to 17. With a women’s national team that is ranked fourth in the world, girls are able to look up to world class players and aspire to play like them one day. Goals like this are an important factor in the motivation to stick with a sport.
Many benefits to playing basketball
Not only is physical fitness an important part of a healthy lifestyle, playing basketball offers a number of benefits to girls off the court as well.
Helps them cultivate friendships – Being a young girl can be tough, especially if you don’t already have a friend group to rely on. Joining a basketball team is a great way to grow relationships both on and off the court. Sports teammates are often fiercely loyal to each other, so girls will gain some great friends in the process.
Increased confidence and self worth – Adolescent girls often struggle with feelings of confidence and self worth at some point in their life, more so than boys do. Becoming good at a sport like basketball can help them to gain confidence and recognize their own self worth.
Improved body image – When girls play sports, they are taught to recognize how powerful and strong their bodies are. This translates into appreciation and respect for their bodies, and an improved body image.
Basketball is an ideal gateway to life long fitness
When raising young girls, a parent’s biggest goal is that they should grow up to be happy and healthy, and playing a sport like basketball is a great way to encourage this path. The benefits of cultivating a fitness habit when they are young will stick with them for the rest of their lives.