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3 Important Life Lessons Girls Can Learn Through Sports

Empowerment is highly valued as a key to uncovering someone’s true potential; sports, in particular, can play an impactful role when offering empowerment in different areas of life. 

For girls and women, sports can offer more than physical activity. Feeling the energy from the crowd as they erupt in applause after an exhilarating win, girls on the playing field can discover strength or a sense of belonging, igniting empowerment.

In fact, exploring and participating in sports can shape girls’ identities and empower them to navigate life’s complexities, such as developing body image confidence or overcoming setbacks.

According to Statistics Canada, only 49 percent of women (age 15 and above) participated in sports in 2023, compared to men at 62 percent. When there is so much to gain from participating in sports, how can we empower our girls to explore sports and physical activities that resonate with their interests?

We invite you to explore three ways girls are empowered through sports.

Overcoming Adversity

Sports, much like life, is filled with challenges and obstacles. 

Girls face fierce competition, physical demands, and the pressure to perform. However, it is through facing these adversities that they develop resilience and perseverance. 

For example, not every game is a winning one, and that’s okay. When faced with obstacles that discourage or prevent girls from pursuing their success, learning to embrace situations as they come is a part of the learning process. 

Oftentimes, it becomes motivation to improve. 

Through sports, girls can learn to bounce back from setbacks in their own lives, developing the resilience necessary to navigate challenges with confidence.

Building Confidence 

One of the most transformative aspects of sports for girls is its ability to boost and instil self-confidence. Body confidence, in particular, is often a challenge for girls and young women. 

According to the Canadian Women in Sport Rally Report (2022), racialized girls, girls with disabilities, and those who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ experience higher levels of body confidence challenges. However, 60% of girls reported engaging in sport and physical activity helps them develop positive body image. 

With respect to goal-setting, girls develop a deep understanding of their capabilities and potential. 

From scoring a goal to improving a personal record, or mastering a new skill, each achievement contributes to a growing sense of self-confidence. Consistent effort and skill development in sports directly correlates with improved self-esteem. 

Teamwork and Collaboration

Sports provide a unique environment for learning the importance of teamwork and collaboration. 

Whether it’s a team or an individual sport, women who participate in sports often have a support system consisting of coaches, teammates, and mentors. Effective teamwork is crucial for success in sports. Girls learn to work collaboratively towards a common goal, relying on each other’s strengths and support.

Effective communication, trust, and mutual support are essential among team members. Girls learn to listen to their teammates, communicate their ideas, and work together to develop strategies. They understand the power of synergy, where the collective efforts of the team result in greater achievements than individual contributions.

The teamwork skills girls develop in sports early on are highly transferable to various aspects of life, such as leadership skills in their careers. Girls who participate in sports learn the value of cooperation, collective success, and how to approach diverse perspectives from others.