How To Equip Our Female Athletes To Be Leaders

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The blog vacation continues! We’ve been covering my favorite topic…coaching female athletes.  Is coaching females tremendously different than coaching males?  Nope.  But there are differences and understanding them could ensure a successful season for you.

Do you believe that your job is to equip your players with life skills as well as sport skills?  Well, this post will be right up your alley!  In a TEDtalk called, New Data On The Rise Of Women, Hanna Rosin give tons of facts about how women are getting more advanced degrees, making more money, and taking on more leadership roles than ever before.

While those facts and figures were impressive, they weren’t what stood out to me.  What her talk said to me is that those of us in position to train tomorrow’s leaders had better get on the ball!  This is powerful information that should guide us in how we teach the leaders on our teams.

Rosin talks about how the “old” leadership model favored men with its hierarchical pattern, but how the “new” leadership model generally fits women better.  What does this new model look like?  Let’s check it out!

3 ways coaches can prepare their female athletes for leadership roles

  1. Build teams.  With all of these ideas, the idea that women inherently carry these qualities is a generalization.  So don’t get all huffy that the assumption is that women excel at the less rigid leadership models…the numbers don’t lie.  Okay, now that I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk.    The days of the leader/manager/boss sitting up on high and being rarely seen are over.  These days leaders roll up their sleeves and create groups of people who want to work together toward a common purpose.
    On our teams:  To help our captains with their future endeavors, we should encourage them to put aside their desire to be dictatorial and entitled. Many times, upperclassmen feel that they deserve to hold the position rather than being grateful to serve both their coaches and teammates.  As they work through the natural ups and downs of a season, they will learn how to manage different personality types and the power of compromise.
  2. Help encourage communication.  This is a natural outcome of building a team.  Today’s leaders have a vision that they are able to clearly convey to their work crew.  They will properly delegate responsibilities while giving their people the necessary tools to succeed.  Today’s leader will clearly detail a path to success.
    On our teams:  Whether it’s in the locker room before practice or at the water cooler during a practice break, our captains should be able to clearly tell their teammates what effort level is required of everyone during every moment of practice.  Beyond that, they should be outwardly supportive of their teammates.
  3. Foster creativity.  Today’s leaders give their team room to reach the goal in their own manner.  They don’t want cookie cutter “yes men”, but innovative thinkers.  By doing this, the leader also equips their people with the tools they’ll need to become leaders in their own right.
    On our teams:  As coaches, we should free up our captains to be their own people…not to just emulate the captains before them.  In the same vein, our captains have to let their teammates have a voice.


Let’s go out and make sure we prepare our female athletes to take their place as future leaders.

Want to read more about female athletes and leadership?  Check these out!

Teaching Our Athletes To Embrace Power, Part 1
Teaching Our Athletes To Embrace Power, Part 2
Female Leaders: How To Get Ahead And Not Alienate People
What Are You Worth? How To Negotiate Salary