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A Coach's Impact On Self-Image In Young Girls

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"At a recent PCA workshop, I learned that the most important component of development for girls is self-image. As a father of a 10-year-old girl, and second-year coach of a girls team (ages 10-12), can you provide additional tips on improving self-image?"

PCA Response by Joe Scally, PCA Trainer-Chicago
Self-image is about how you see yourself and how you believe others see you. Self-image is sometimes thought of as being limited to the body or physical self but can also include views of who and what you are as a person. The latter is often called self-concept. Self-image and self-concept are closely connected to self-esteem, how you feel about yourself, and confidence in your abilities.

As you recognize, a coach has a great opportunity to positively impact his players’ self-esteem and self-images. This is especially important for girls.

Research shows that as girls move from grade school to high school their self-esteem levels drop precipitously, at three times the rate of boys’. Low self-esteem in adolescence puts girls at higher risk for a number of problems including dropping out of school, substance abuse, eating disorders, and depression.

Fortunately, research shows that participation in sports is one way we can help girls even the odds. Sports can build girls’ self-esteem. In part this is through developing physical competence, which relates to self-image. Studies show that girls who play sports generally have more positive images of their bodies.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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