Level the Playing Field: Women in Sports
In an era where competitiveness determines who has and stays in power, sports is where the playing field came into play, literally. Men have for a long time now been the only participants in various sporting activities, as they are strong and aggressive, making the sports more than just a tug of war to determine the winner. Women, on the other hand, are too weak and delicate, to be involved in the same sporting events men engage in. They only provided suitable environments during the organization of these events. To prove these allegations wrong, they gathered their courage took to the field. They had no idea of what lied ahead, which is why they lacked preparation for the liabilities that came with this new world of sports?
Women’s Subjective Experiences
In their nature, women are sensitive beings. They often react to every minor detail entailed in whatever coaches say to them or do. On the contrary, coaches are in themselves commanding during their training sessions, as according to research in sports science, this releases adrenaline, a chemical that acts as a direct shot of energy to the body’s muscles. This then leads the athlete to perform better than he/she would have under relaxed conditions. Usually, the coach never has in him/her ill motives towards the athletes, but due to their sensitive nature; they tend to take utterances addressed to them a level more personal than it was intended, and in most occasions, it is towards the negative.
In addition to that, men have bodies molded to cope with the stress that is involved with intensive training and the pressure to perform with ease. According to Costa & Guthrie (1994), joking around during training is important to women as it helps them unwind from the pressure that comes with competition. By requesting humor from the coach, women hope to manage better the tension that arises with the intensity associated with training sessions. This works by keeping the training sessions lively to avoid them turning from leisure activities to chores to attend on a daily basis. The coach also has to have upon here as women, compared to men, grasped at slower pace lessons they get during training. With the level of repetition required, the coach ought to be flexible enough to cope with women.
Last but not least, menstruation, a common experience in women, has been cited to influence women’s attitudes towards everything they are engaged in during that cycle. Being involved in sports means breaks from the normal schedule come only once or twice a year in periods lasting two to three weeks each. Menstrual cycles occur every month, and at different times for every individual. It is for this reason that they cannot be entrenched into the various sports timetables. These periods immensely affect training as they compromise concentration and the activeness of athletes, especially when called upon to perform their best. The process is however in the body’s chemistry, hence uncontrollable. Coaches are poor at noticing such occasions, which is the reason they tend to go on with business as usual.
Get the Best off Your Female Athlete
As much as the sports industry demands performance to succeed, coaching does not just involve knowing the rules of the game and plotting strategies. They should keep in mind that their strengths, if not nurtured may turn into weaknesses. The coach ought to know in-depth what makes the athlete tick. Women athletes tend to have a lot going on in their lives; so much that if goes unattended leads to inconsistencies in everything they get involved in.
With as little as 10 minutes of basic personal talk before, during, or after training, both the coach and athlete can come to an understanding of how their schedules can be the best set. The coach will also learn from this, the best time to say something or introduce a certain gameplay strategy. This clearly kills two birds with one stone as it sorts out the sensitivity issue and also gets the coach to know better his/her athlete.
With that solved, it should be clear that sports come with them stressful proceedings such as keeping to certain diets and lifestyles as recommended by nutritionists, and doing away with old behaviors. These may not be what the athlete is comfortable with, but the situation demands loyalty to them. With these in mind, a lively coach would only make life easier than it seems. Coaches should avoid being so uptight since this, other than reducing the athletes’ morale, silently distances them. If they become just two professionals, the athlete will not be at ease to share some suggestions that would make the training better, or something the coach might have overlooked.
Moreover, there is a recurrent issue with women athletes that is their menstrual cycle. For not being a professional issue, society overlooked it. The coach should learn that professionalism is whatever influences the behavior and activity of the athlete. The best way for the coach to be aware of this when it occurs is by developing a friendly attitude with the athlete. With the acceptance that it is in progress, it will be easier to manage it by fine-tuning the routine exercises so that they become less demanding. When the coach dedicates himself/herself to making this duration lax for the athlete, she is bound to feel indebted after everything returns to normal, and perform better.
It will be improper to prepare this paper without recognizing that essentialism is prevalent in the issues it seeks to address. “Essentialism is selecting only one source of a woman’s identity i.e. gender, race, class, or sexual preference, and treating it as severable from the rest of her being” (Vernellia, 2004). For this reason, when women cite issues they see as normal for not engaging in certain fields of play e.g. allergy and phobia, diverts quickly to their weak feminine nature. Feminists have taken it upon themselves to ensure that they address this mindset so that women develop deeper influence on issues that affect them in society.
Several lobby groups were formed to seek to empower not only women in sports, but also in other sectors that disregarded the roles of women in society. A good example here would be female chief executives who have gone against all odds to beat the system.
Role of This Understanding
Back in time, women, seen as weak, handled the cuisine and matters regarding cleanliness and tidiness, as it they performed best there. Nowadays, they succeed in situations men shun. This understanding seeks to address this downgrading of women as a misconception for their fragile looks. When given opportunities, women have proven that they are able to handle the pressure, though they have different ways of approaching situations, as compared to men. They have gone ahead to setting records and making more. From this, we realize that the higher the bar is set, the higher they jump; and with this jump, the bar keeps rising.
Therefore, coaches should try to cope with the situations surrounding women and encourage them to try harder. Listening to them and using their own scope of thinking to strengthen them ought to take them further than rebuking them for their mistakes. Immediately the coach identifies how the athletes mind works, only fate that may come in the way of success. This may prove to be particularly more difficult since they are used to the body, which is similar among most athletes. Study of behavior, on the other hand, puts the coach in control of the athlete
Towards equality, women have decided to use a feministic turn to increase the speed of instilling it in people’s minds. “According to a new study, fewer women, on a percentage basis, are coaching women’s teams now than at any point in the past 23 years” (Suggs, 2000). This clearly not the trend they ought to be taking, but is just a step back. Taking of the first stride towards self-actualization was the initial trial they had to overcome, and though they made it through the obstacles that were chauvinistic men; they still have a long way to go. They will have to prove wrong the critics who still point them out as misplaced in modern society.
Costa, M., & Guthrie, S. (1994). Women and sports: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Suggs, W. (2000). Article: Decline In Female Coaches. Web.
Vernellia, R. (2004). Essentialism. Web.