It keeps them social, active, busy and healthy.

So why are so many girls turning their backs on sport?

According to a recent national survey, 46% of Aussie teen girls are giving up on their sporting dreams. If you have a tween or teenage girl at home, here’s what you can do to give them a fighting chance to stay in the game.

What’s going on? 

According to the 2019 Suncorp Australian Youth and Confidence Report:

  • Only 55% of Australian girls age 11-17 play sport in a typical week, compared to 69% of boys of the same age
  • 15-17-year-old girls are significantly more likely to be playing less sport (46%) in the last 12 months or to have completely stopped, compared to boys aged 15-17 years (30%)
  • 11-17-year-old girls are significantly less active (-1 hr 18 mins) than boys of the same age in a typical week
  • 15% of girls don’t like playing sport because they don’t think they’re ‘any good’, a close second to having ‘too much schoolwork’
  • 37% of girls aged 11-17 feel confident playing a team sport, compared to 54% of boys in the same age group

Why is this happening?

One of the main issues is confidence, not only in their ability to play but in their ability to look good doing it. After all, many of the most popular sports for girls involve tight costumes and itty bitty uniforms.

Dance and swimming, for example, are the two most popular sports for girls (24% and 18% respectively) and both require very tight attire.

Another reason many tweens and teenage girls are quitting sport is that they are simply too busy with school. The pressure to perform in school continues to grow and it’s a shame that many girls are skipping out on sport because of it.

What can we do to get our teenage girls back in the game? 

There are a number of reasons why playing sport is great for all kids, regardless of their gender. It builds resilience, perseverance, and confidence. It develops social skills and teamwork. And it can have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Plus, it gives them a sense of achievement and pride.

So what can you do if your teenage girl decides she wants to give up her sporting dreams?

Discuss what’s going on (in private)

Have a one-on-one conversation about why she wants to quit. You might just get a simple shrug and an “I don’t wanna do it anymore.” But if you can get her to open up, she may explain why. Listen to her reasons and let her know that you understand.

Set up a routine

If one of the reasons why she wants to quit is because she’s just too busy, then a good way to overcome this is to help her with time management. Set up a schedule so she knows when she needs to study, when she has sport and when she has downtime. Time management is a skill she’s going to need to learn in the future anyway, so why not start now?

Ensure all uniforms fit

Don’t make her wear last year’s uniform if it is even a little bit too tight. Sure, she may have a few more wears out of it, but it can make her feel uncomfortable. So make sure you’re updating her uniform to account for her growing body. This especially goes for swimwear and sports where she’s in the water (surfing, diving, etc).

Keep her equipped for games every week of the month

One of the main reasons your daughter may be stopping sport is because of her period. It sounds like a silly reason but to a teenage girl, it’s a very valid concern, especially if she is a swimmer, a gymnast or a dancer. Make sure she has a little kit in her gym bag with pads, tampons, extra undies and some pain relief.

Period panties are also pretty awesome for teenage girls, especially our future athletes.

Check out the Modibodi RED range

We recently did a call-out for Modibodi samplers and noticed that their range isn’t just for pregnant women and mums. They are also great for teens. Their new RED range is designed just for teen girls and can give them more confidence to play and perform, even on their periods.

They have underwear bundles that are great for school, sport and sleep. Plus, there’s even swimwear that can keep them leak-free no matter what day of the month it is.

Focus on the social side of things

One of the best things about playing team sport is the friendships you make along the way. After all, these girls are not just your teammates. They are by your side every practice, every game, every tournament away. Remind your teenage girls that they would be giving this up too if they decide not to play anymore.

Support her dreams but don’t be an overactive weirdo Soccer Mum

It’s okay to cheer on the sidelines when they are younger but it can embarrass them as they get older. So take it down a notch Captain Cheerleader and ditch the energetic sideline holler and fights with the umpire.

Not every teenage girl is going to want to play sport. Sometimes it’s just a matter of not liking it anymore. But if your daughter suddenly seems uninterested in something she’s always been passionate about, it’s worth talking to her and finding out why.

Let’s help keep our girls in the game. It’s good for their mental health, general health and their self-confidence. Need some sporting ideas for your kids? Check out some of these activities (sport and non-sport) for kids of all ages.

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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