You Go Girl

Boys and girls are different – well, that’s not news. But have you stopped to think about how boys and girls are different when it comes to sports. They have different attitudes about sports and they often feel differently about their physical development.

Let’s start with the attitudes. Boys really focus on their skills – how far they can throw a football, how hard they can hit a baseball, or how fast they can run. The boys work at constantly improving their skills to be a better player. Girls are people oriented. They want to be on the same team with their best friends. And girls don’t like being compared to others; they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

Boys are proud of their physical development. My grandsons are constantly showing me how tall they are, how big their muscles are, and how much they weigh. I notice the granddaughters are a bit more reserved about their developing bodies. The recent Olympics gave girls an opportunity to see physically fit women play sports with pride. That is a great model for girls and young women.

Data about successful women who participated in sports indicates they learned how to be authoritative, work on teams, set individual and team goals, and to be mentally tough.

What differences do you notice between boys and girls when it comes to sports?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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2 thoughts on “You Go Girl

  1. Not sure of the research base on this analysis for boys and girls. I have a son who is more interested in running with whoever may be needing a boost than he is in winning the race. I believe that you are describing temperament types, rather than gender differences.

    I suspect that girls responses about their bodies have been highly colored by the greater U.S. culture, rather than their inherent, gender-linked attitude. To help determine if it is a gender related issue, does this hold in many cultures around the world and throughout history?

  2. Margaret – thanks for sharing your comments. Temperament and personalities also are factors as well as gender. I referenced materials from the New York University Child Study Center.

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