Coaching Association of Canada

Keeping Girls in Sport: A New Resource for Coaches, Mentors and Leaders

October 15, 2018

Research has repeatedly shown that during adolescence, girls drop out of sport at a significantly higher rate than boys. Although there are several factors that contribute to this statistic, a commonly cited reason is a lack of understanding of the motivators and barriers that make up the female sport experience. As a coach, it’s imperative you have the tools required to help young girls overcome the unique barriers they face, and motivate them to stay active throughout adolescence and hopefully, for life.

From physical fitness and healthy body weight, to mental and emotional well-being, participation in sport and recreation is an important part of a child’s development. Sport helps foster self-esteem and confidence, and being part of a team provides kids with opportunities to develop valuable life skills such as teamwork and leadership. By exiting sport during adolescence, girls miss out on more than just the chance to play and compete: they leave behind intangible lessons that can empower them to grow up to become strong leaders in their communities. As coaches, you are in the position to help girls stay in sport, and ultimately, find success both on and off the field of play.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport have developed an online coaching resource called Keeping Girls in Sport. The 90-minute course was developed using the research of Dr. Vicki Harber, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, and teaches how to create a safe and respectful coaching environment for female athletes, and ultimately, keep them engaged and enrolled in sport long-term.

Two-time Olympic Gold Medallist Rosie MacLennan recognizes the value of tailoring your approach to meet the needs of female athletes: “My coach created a training environment conducive not only to female athletes staying, but succeeding in sport. Had I quit as a teenager, I would have given up much more than Olympic medals. If you work with female athletes, it’s important to understand not only the barriers female athletes face, but the motivators that help us improve: that’s why I recommend coaches take Keeping Girls in Sport.”

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, also sees the value in Keeping Girls in Sport:

“When leading sport organizations come together to create resources like Keeping Girls in Sport, more girls and women are able to strive for their personal best. Their coaches, like those who guided me as I grew up with sport, can turn to this resource as mentors who help shape Canada’s future athletes.”

                      - The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport 

The cost of the resource is $17, and upon completion, coaches who are required to maintain their certification of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) will earn two Professional Development points towards their Maintenance of Certification through the Locker. Coaches play such an important role not just in an athlete’s success, but overall experience. Be the reason girls choose to stay in sport, and register now at


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