Girls and sport

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02/05/2012 at 15:58

Did anyone see Chrissie Wellington on BBC News this morning, as part of the campaign for schools to make sport more attractive to girls?

I think its really great that they had someone like Chrissie involved, she is a fantastic role model to young girls. But one of the suggestions in the BBC new story is to introduce activities that are more appealling to girls like zumba and dance classes. I'm not sure how I feel about that - seems a bit like getting girls interested in sport by giving them the idea that 'real sports' aren't for girls? 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17873519

02/05/2012 at 16:10

that's the reality though. my neice won't play sport at school because it is unfeminine and because it'll make her look unattractive.

i reckon she'd be more likely to want to do zumba or tap dancing or summat. it's better than nothing (provided girls can still do sport if they want to). this just provides an alternative. plus it is physical education...and not sport.

and in any case, aerobics is bloody hard work.

but i take the point

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
02/05/2012 at 16:36

I do agree, unfortunately it's a fact of life - and it has nothing specifically to do with boys, I spent my teen years at an all-girls grammar school. You have to understand, there comes a point in a teenage girl's life when her appearance is all-important and most hate looking foolish leaping about in school shorts and getting all sweaty or muddy. They are also usually embarrassed to be seen changing their clothes and exposing their developing bodies in front of the other girls, especially their enemies. If giving dance classes or aerobics gets them active then I'm all for it.

I was one of the odd ones, as I joined my first athletic club at age 12, enjoyed school PE except for hockey which I thought was barbaric, and learned to swim at an early age. Loved rounders.

02/05/2012 at 16:37

True, better to have them doing something than nothing, and there is nothing wrong with aerobics or dancing, I just don't like the idea that the answer to girl's not participating in sports is to give them completely different activities. Why not try addressing the idea that sports are unattractive?

02/05/2012 at 16:40

Ultra Ironwolf - I do understand, I went through that phase myself! But I think I would have hated being shoved in a leotard and into a dance class even more than going to hockey practice in the pouring rain.

02/05/2012 at 16:42

I used to play hockey, IW, and it WAS barbaric

We had no choice, we had to do sport (this was a very long time ago), and we all played hockey, netball, rounders in the summer, etc.  Dancing was not an option!

Giving kids the choice of different activities is no bad thing, if it mean they do some kind of exercise.  I've not tried zumba, but I understand it's a good workout. 

02/05/2012 at 17:03

Well - isn't school supposed to be preparing you for the adult world?

Which is where, when women do "physical activity" it very much tends to be yoga, or step class, or legs-bums-and-tums, or pilates, or distance running/ jogging, or dance, or cycling, or tennis, or "going to the gym", or hiking, with a minor helping of martial arts, table tennis, synchronized swimming, mountain clumbing, and soccer.

I really do not see what the big deal is about teams and competition. For heaven's sake I used to play in a works 5-a-side  game (where I was the only woman but not noticably the worst player) and the goals were never counted and who was in what team changed from week to week. And most male runners, like female, are mainly trying to improve their own fitness, so how, really, is that all that different from going to yoga or zumba and learning how the hell not to fall over or collapse red-faced in the middle of the session?

02/05/2012 at 17:04

Is it just girls?  I identify with all of the above.  I avoided doing sport at school because I didn't enjoy it and was crap at it.  I've never enjoyed football and was too weedy for rugby.  I did swim though but from what I gather, that is less of a choice these days do to funding problems.

CW should be a great role model, but despite how in love with her posters here are, very few non tri people have heard of her.  She can't be there by herself, there needs to be a panel of role models and if some of them are street dancers too then that can't be a bad thing.

02/05/2012 at 17:15
Much as I could criticise the lack of sporting opportunities when I was at school - you were either good at football or it wasn't much fun - I'm bloody glad nobody made me try to dance!
02/05/2012 at 17:19

As long as the hardy hoydens who would prefer to romp about a muddy field whacking each other senseless with hockey sticks aren't forced into lycra for wussy Zumba classes, what's the problem? IMO anything that gets girls (and boys of course) doing any kind of physical activity can't be bad. 

02/05/2012 at 17:20

I wasn't crap at all sports at school, but I was crap at the ones that counted ... and that's where it all went pear-shaped for me. Rounders and Netball seemed to be the thing you were measured against, if you couldn't do that then you weren't picked for teams for anything else ... the fact that my cross country was OK, I was pretty good at long jump and really quite good at fencing were totally irelevant. It made my life pretty miserable - last person standing on the side to be picked for teams etc, and that rolled into general acceptance in class (or not, in my case!). I'm not sure introducing gender specific activities is the way forward as I'd say it's not just the girls that suffer from this, but certainly a wider selection, where it's not all about good hand-eye coordination/ ability to dodge people etc.  What's wrong with street dance, fencing, yoga etc too.  I can't comment on the getting dirty/grubby thing because I loved doing that from an early age, but certainly the report in the paper was that that was what was causing the problems ... I guess that is a reflection of our more image-conscious generation.

We definitely need more women in sport to get onto this - I'd like to think some of our current hopeful Olympic sportswomen could help here.  Chrissie is an inspiration for sure, the fact that she has had eating disorder problems in the past (and admits they are not definitely banished if she wasn't training) is also a very current issue too.

02/05/2012 at 17:28
As a sport loathing teen, I can honestly say I'd have hated Zumba just as much as any of the other myriad of sports we had to do. Fat, unfit and utterly uncoordinated meant that I was never going to enjoy any sport - and I duly didn't. We had one term of aerobics, and wasn't exactly the "easy" option, it required just as much energy and co-ordination as anything else I was completely carp at.

Quite happy to watch and cheer and so on, but keep me off the field at all costs.

I used to arrange my flute lesson for the middle of PE, so that it wasn't worth me changing into PE kit, then out again 10 minutes later. And if I could volunteer for anything that happened in the other PE lesson each week, you could count on my name being first on the list.
02/05/2012 at 20:52

It is old news anyway, I'm sure that most schools have been offering non-team and non-competitive activities to their girls (and boys) for years.

At school I was good at rugby and cross country but crap at soccer. When I injured my knee and was dropped from the rugby squad, winter games was purgatory until I encountered hockey. Proper warfare, with real sticks!

02/05/2012 at 21:23

O for god sake; why do we constantly pander to bloody kids.

The exams are piss easy so it's thou shall not fail

The "hard" subjects are being dropped because there are "easier" options.

Now we want to change the sports so they appeal to girls because they don't want to do it.

FFS HTFU

School is supposed to prepare you for life; which is full of lots of things we don't want to do.

02/05/2012 at 23:07
I agree with Piers.

I wasn't great at sport when I was at school, but had I been allowed to choose to do a bit of Wii fit or some other completely wet activity (oh, we mustn't make them sweat if they don't like it), I would really have regretted not having the experience of some team sports.

Sometimes people - especially children - don't know what's good for them.

There is a place for competitive sport in schools. Schools are told they should 'build character' by thicky Gove, but then told on the other hand to sell off their playing fields and do anything to make P.E. more attractive to lazy children? What builds character more than competitive sport? Learning you can't be good at everything is a key lesson for life.

I think this is one of the key aspects of public schools that attract people to spend huge amounts of money to send their children there.

Of course, the experience of enforced communal showers could do with some improvement.
Edited: 02/05/2012 at 23:09
02/05/2012 at 23:16

See, that sort of talk just sounds like justification for bullying to me. 

You are small and physically weak, lacking in skill?  Tough - get down and eat mud.  Competitive sport is good for those who enjoy it.  There are other ways to build character.

The point being made is that it is about encouraging physical activity in those not interested in sport.  Force people against their will to play and chances are, they will only play the once a week and stop as soon as they leave school, maybe never doing any exercise again.  That's if they don't work out how to bunk off of games which was always the easiest of classes to do so with.

02/05/2012 at 23:20

 I have two girls and I have found with the right encouragement they can aspire to anything. I have a daughter ,27 who played football since she was 11 years of age and still playing; it was hard for her as in those days girls playing the game was still not accepted but in time she won a lot of respect. My little one, 9, now enjoys running, she does the odd park run and has joined a athletic club. Both girls have had my full backing. Now and again remind them how much fun they get from sport and the good friends they meet in the teams clubs rather than listen to silly girls in school who do not get involved in sport or are even jealous.

 With regards to schools and introducing 'girlie' activities, my wife works in a primary school as a sports co-ordinator. They offer a wide range of traditional sports (football, rugby, hockey, netball, cross-country and athletics to name a few) as well as Zumba, street-dance, gymnastics and something else which involves waving ribbons in the air.

The latter classes have fewer attendees than the traditional events as most of the girls are out on the field! The girls who never joined in the sports before the introduction of the new classes, generally still don't. They either like being active or don't and unless they get the right encouragement, nothing seems to change.

02/05/2012 at 23:26
I was never fitter than when I was< 16. It had nothing to do with school sports.


It had everything to do with playing football in break and lunchtimes with my mates - usually with a tennis ball - and walking home 4 miles every day because I'd spent my bus fare on ice cream.
02/05/2012 at 23:46
All the posters on here seem to be posting that they played football. Football was never offered at my school, it was rugby, cricket or Cross country. Does this make me posh ?
Oh And hockey, hockey is by far the most brutal sport !
03/05/2012 at 04:28
double hockey?? brutal
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