Until the player pathway is complete in your area, girls may come to your team with a diverse football experience. Some girls may have come through Auskick and have good basic football skills whilst others may be new entry players. The latter is especially true for girls from a multicultural background and who may not have a command of English let alone football language!
Girls this age are more concerned about playing than winning. However this does not make them any less competitive. They are fierce competitors in football but are more likely to strive for personal improvement rather than concern whether they win.
The drop out rate in sport for Australian girls happens during the youth girls years. Coaches need to be aware that girls cite other commitments as one of the biggest barriers to their continuation of sport.
Pressures youth girls encounter to play AFL:
Understanding the competing pressures adolescent girls face will help coaches understand the role of sport and AFL in their lives. A coach who is flexible can provide an enjoyable experience that encourages girls to stay involved in sport.
Implications For Coaches:
- Make training sessions fun and allow times for the girls to ‘have a chat’!
- Be flexible - allow for football to not be the main priority in an adolescent girl’s life.
- Use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to recruit players and convey game day information
- Be well prepared for each training session so you can cater for the diverse skill levels and football backgrounds in your team.
- Teach the physicality skills well such as tackling, bumping, etc.
- Girls generally love to execute the more physical skills of football but if they are new entry players they will not know how to do them safely and with technique. Ensure you teach these skills sequentially and provide the games sense context.
- Educate players about the importance of core stability and strength. Not only will this help them withstand the physical combat but also assist injury prevention.
- Make sure you know what your players want from their AFL experience
- Use vision of game and skill execution analysis frequently. Use vision of correct execution rather than poor execution so player can visualize what they should be doing.
- Explain why they are learning something – place in a football context
Suitable youth girls coaches can be recruited from the following sources:
- Mother, father or brother of participating players
- Junior coaches from local community clubs
- Players from the male club aligned with youth girls team
- Women's League players and coaches
- State talent academy members (role models)
- Tertiary Human Movement/ Physical Education students
- Secondary Physical Education Studies students