Sharks v. Happy Feet

By Tracee Sioux

Good Job! You can do it! Get that ball! You’re not afraid of her.

Good try. It’s alright. It’s okay to lose sometimes. I saw you run really hard after that ball.

Did you try hard and have fun? That’s what’s important! I’m so proud of you.


Attack! Attack!

Watch the ball.

Get in there and get the ball!

Attack! Attack! Attack!

Take a wild guess which dialogue is coming from the girls’ coach and which is coming from the boys’ coach.

There is plenty of evidence that five-year-old boys and girls have equal athletic abilities. Yet, the differences between these two soccer teams are startling.

Practice twice a week for boys, once a week for girls.

Encouraged to practice an hour per day for boys (by both parents and coach), no extra practice encouraged for girls.

Team names: Sharks for boys, Happy Feet for girls.

Focus on trying hard and having fun for girls, focus on winning for boys.

What do you think the consequences of these differences are?

4 replies
  1. Mim says:

    Hmmm. Why the separate boys and girls teams? Our 5 year old kids play in mixed teams for soccer, they don’t split into boys and girls teams till the under 10’s.

  2. blue milk says:

    Sharply observed, well done! My friend was telling me the other day than another mother was talking to her and said “the 5 yr old girls soccer team are just hopeless, the girls can’t play”. My friend said – “are the 5 yr old boys really any better?” No, this mother had to agree, 5 yrs old aren’t that co-ordinated so they don’t play brilliant soccer. But it is the girl soccer players who were assumed to be bad players for their sex and not their age.

  3. Tracee says:

    Well, I saw those Sharks and while it wasn’t brilliant soccer they would kick Happy Feet Ass.

    The intensity on their faces told me that they were taking the game seriously. Because their coach was taking it seriously.

    Pre-coach the kids were equal. But, after all that practice, intensity, focus on winning, importance put on aggression – they ARE better soccer players.

    When one of my girls gets tired she whines and gets taken out. Then everyone gathers around her to tell her it’s okay and she must not feel well.

    The coach screams to pick it up and run faster if one of them are tired. Getting taken out of the game is a bad thing they are not rewarded for.

  4. Tracee says:

    Mim, I agree. Why the seperation so young. I would think co-ed would provide more aggression for the girls and less for the boys – which I think would be better for both of them.

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