Recently in Gender Differences & Similarites Category

Michael Storts

I will not suggest that all men act one way and all women act another way. I've played alongside and against women who are exceedingly competitive, adept and talented at sport; I've played with men who couldn't care less about winning, and would rather be a spectator. And while it's my belief that you can't define men or women just by their common stereotypes, I do believe that most men and women espouse genetically-caused, undeniable gender differences. One sex is not better, or worse--just different--and I feel that Kathleen DeBoer, author of Gender and Competition, feels the same.

DeBoer uses her experiences as an NCAA and professional athlete, and long-time NCAA coach as the basis for her anecdotal observations. She believes, as do I, that differences between males and females typically exceed speed and strength; that sports are an avenue for our social urges, and that the social urge of a typical male is different from that of an average female. I won't lump all males into one category and all females into another, but what most guys "get out of sport" appears to be very different from that of most girls. DeBoer believes that sport, for most guys, is an opportunity to assert their physical prowess and establish a social hierarchy. After all, we're but only a few generations removed from a time when males relied on their physical cunning to catch food, settle territorial disputes and lure "baby mama." Of course, it wasn't too long ago that women relied on a social network to raise children, find food and stay sheltered. Our genetics make us who we are.

In her decades of experiencing collegiate athletics, DeBoer has grown to find that many girls--especially in high school--are less receptive to competitiveness, victory, domination and criticism, as are their male counterparts. Even some of her most disappointing teams, from a win-loss standpoint, considered their experience to be highly successful because of the social greatness that they had encountered. She finds that girls, who may be "distracted by a male delivery, which they find belittling or abusive" (DeBoer, p.48) are easily hurt by a coach's tone and criticism. "Women have to have a sense that you care for them beyond their athletic needs" (Dorrance, p.71).

Without generalizing, I think the assertion that males and females require different things from their coaches is, to a degree, true. At the same time, the response that coaches may expect from their players probably varies, by gender. Perhaps testosterone is more receptive to intimidating coaching; perhaps estrogen prefers calm leadership and a "rally the troops," collective-effort approach.

However it may be, there's a problem in today's coaching textbooks: many of them, intentionally or not, use verbiage that demean female characteristics and propagate stereotyping. Repeatedly problematizing female athletes with terms like "issues, dealing with, and serious" (LaVoi, Becker & Maxwell 2007)--as if boys don't have problems--only perpetuates the non-normative stereotypes that surround female athletes. To increase both the quantity and quality of coaches for female sports, we need to stop disparaging the differences between male and female athletes and come to accept to accept them. Companies like Nike, and organizations like the WNBA, IOC and women's soccer need to donate resources to gender studies and women's sport, so that coach-training may become more effective and specialized.

However, I don't feel that the basis of coach-training should take an ambivalent path, where we deny the biological gender differences that dominate our biology, and instead consider boys and girls to be the same. Some of the methods that work best for girls may not motivate boys, and vice versa. If the goal of a coaching text is to teach effective coaching, it's illogical to avoid gender differences.

It seems better, to me, to alert a young coach that his or her usual style may not be ideal for the opposite sex, instead of having coaches "learn the hard way" and alienate their players. The point isn't to stop teaching the differences between coaching male and female athletes, but to employ a tactful discourse that avoids belittling one sex or the other. Statements that "imply girls are inferior, incapable, and weak" trivialize female athletics and jeopardize the quality of coaching that they may receive.

I understand that some prospective coaches will be turned-off to the challenge of coaching the opposite sex, but that may be better than employing inept coaches who are entirely ignorant to gender differences. And, while LaVoi correctly believes that "much work is needed before the gender regime in youth sport can be toppled and gender equity in youth sport can be achieved" (2009), the mostly male gender regime will hardly be receptive to a theory that men and women are emotionally alike.

DeBoer, Kathleen. Gender and men and women approach work and play differently. 2004.

Lavoi. Occupational sex segregation in a youth soccer organization: females in positions of power. Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal. 18(2), 25-37. 2009.

LaVoi, Becker and Maxwell. 'Coaching girls': a content analysis of best-selling popular press coaching books. 2007.

Gender Differences in sport

Gender differences in sport are something that has been discussed, as long as there have been women in sports. To me, there is nothing to be argued especially in youth sports. There is no difference from a man and a woman playing sports except they play in different leagues. Statistics can show that the amount of girls playing youth sports now is vastly different from the past. This is a great sign for the future of women's sports and I hope as a sports fan that it continues to grow. There is nothing bad that can come from it and anyone who says differently is wrong. Sports are a great part of life and everyone should be able to enjoy them.

Like everything in life there are some differences between men and women in sports. The readings we were assigned talked a lot about these small differences and I agree with most of them. DeBoer (2004) for example talks about the differences in the competitive aspect of sport. They say the male ability to live "life as a contest" mentally is something I agree with to a point. I feel most male athletes do live like this but I do believe a good amount of females also live this way, at least to an extent. For women, relationships are ongoing and primary (DoBoer, 2004) and can trump the competitiveness of women. Another difference often discussed is the difference between coaching men and women. Differences in coaching girls and boys may exist, but it is premature and naïve to make and perpetuate sweeping claims of difference without empirical evidence within the context of sports (LaVoi, Becker, and Maxwell, 2007). I agree with this statement completely and could not think of a better way to put it. I have talked to coaches previously about the differences and the biggest thing I got from them is just how they listen and are more fundamental in practice. They told me that they are much more coachable in most situations but also more emotional with other situations.

One change I see necessary for changing how people see gender differences is talked about in the article "Mentoring Women to Advance Within Leadership Positions as International Physical Educators (LaVoi, 2009). This article talks about the importance of having women in power positions in sports. I agree with this completely and believe it is the best way to eliminate some of the last differences in sports dealing with gender. I think women should get more of an opportunity to not only coach, but also be powerful influences in the front office of professional teams. A breakthrough would be for a woman to coach a men's team and make them successful. The best scenario I could come up with is having Pat Summit, someone who everyone respects already, make a move to men's college basketball and see how it impacts the league. I believe she would be a great coach and could be very successful. If this were to happen, women would get more opportunities in the future for similar positions.

-Trevor Maring

Works Cited:

DeBoer, Kathleen J. (2004). Gender and Competition.

LaVoi, Nicole M., Erin Becker & Heather D. Maxwell (2007).'Coaching girls': A content analysis of best‐selling popular press coaching books.

LaVoi, N.M. (2009). "Occupational sex segregation in a youth soccer organization: Females in Positions of Power." Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal.18 (2), 25-37.

Gender and Sport

With the institution of Title IX, sport has become commonplace for the physical and social development of males and females alike. Participating in sport in no longer an exclusively male rite-of-passage but is regarded as an equal opportunity for boys and girls to experience competition and teamwork and make the transition from children to adults (DeBoer, 2004). The number and variety of sport opportunities that have emerged since the introduction of Title IX are reflective of the societal views of acceptable gender practices and roles both in and out of athletics (DeBoer, 2004). Although there are more females participating in sport than ever before, the institution of athletics continues to be plagued by gender inequity and stereotype reinforcement, hindering the overall experience and positive social development of both females and males (DeBoer, 2004; LaVoi, 2008; LaVoi, Becker & Maxwell, 2007). Examining the gender constructs of coaching books and occupational trends of females within sport organizations, it is evident that the social status of gender roles and influence has yet to reach a point of equality within the context of sport.
A study published in the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal (2007) examined gender differences constructed within "coaching girls" books. The findings of this study identified several recurring themes throughout the books that reflect the inherent view of women as being the "other" and "problematic" (LaVoi, Becker & Maxwell, 2007). LaVoi, Becker and Maxwell (2007) explain that sport revolves around the idea that males are the norm, making females "different" and identifying their specific needs and circumstances as abnormal. Many "coaching girls" books were developed within the context of this idea and perpetuate this gender separation by discussing strategies for coaching females in terms of dealing with their "issues" and recognizing that they are "different" than males. Coaches that self-educate with such books will not only learn to regard females in a different context than males but will continually reinforce gender stereotypes within their coaching practices, maintaining the current culture of gender inequity in sport.
Examining the trends of females in positions of power within a youth soccer league, LaVoi (2008) illustrates that females continue to occupy less visible, gender specific roles among soccer teams and remain underrepresented in positions of greater power (i.e. head and assistant coaches). This study found that females are most frequently in the role of "Team Manager" and "Team Mom" but are more likely to hold a position of power when part of an all-girls team rather then when part of a boys' team (LaVoi, 2008). Youth sport is a context through which children learn the current societal views of gender and its relationship to power and leadership (LaVoi, 2008). The absence of females in positions of power is problematic because it teaches children to only associate males with power and leadership, further perpetuating the gender hierarchy seen in and out of sport. The values that children learn through sport transcend into their daily lives which is beneficial when these lessons are positive and supportive of their social progression. However, the current trend of absent female role models in sport harms this social development and continues to reinforce stereotypes about the acceptable power roles of men and women.
As DeBoer (2004) explained, "sport is a reflection of societal values". Based on the trends of coaching books and gender power roles within sport, society does not regard men and women as equals but views them as a dichotomy of normal versus "the other". Sport is the context through which children will learn and reinforce these values. Therefore, it is imperative of coaches, parents and youth sport organizers to become educated in the influence that gender roles have in the social development of children and then work to create a more even distribution of leadership and power between the men and women of each organization. Coaches and parents should also work to avoid gender stereotyping young athletes in order to create a more positive developmental environment through which boys and girls learn to regard one another as teammates and athletes instead of "normal" and "different". With a more conscious effort towards closing the gap between the men and women in positions of power and progressive social thinking, coaches, parents and youth sport organizers have the ability to educate and develop young athletes within a more gender neutral context that emphasizes physical and emotional growth and the value and fun of sport participation.
-Dani Benson
LaVoi, N. (2008). Females in positions of power within youth sport: A case study of a youth soccer organization. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal.

LaVoi, N., Becker, E., Maxwell, H. (2007). "Coaching girls": A content analysis of best selling popular press coaching books. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal (4), 15.

DeBoer, K. (2004). Gender and competition: How men and women approach work and play differently. Coaches Choice.

Gender and It's Role in Sports

The amount of girls in sports today is an example of how far we have come as a society. The number of girls that participated in sports at the end of the 1990's had tripled from a poll done in the early 1970's, and the numbers have only increased since then (DeBoer 2004). This is a trend that can be attributed to the way that our society is growing. We are a world that revolves around pastimes and it is clear that sports are at the top of that list.

One of the big reasons for an increase in girl's high school athletics is because they are starting to get involved in sports at a much younger age. Youth sport's offers the ability to change the stereotypical beliefs of children and their families pertaining to gender, power, and leadership (Lavoi 2009). Growing up, even though we are not teaching these stereotypes, boys and girls are socially pressured into different areas of expertise. It used to be that women would never be able to compete with the boys and would only be there to cheer them on. But we are now entering an era where women are not just being the "soccer mom", but they are becoming head coaches and even professional athletes (Lavoi 2009). The female athletes of today are inspiring the female youth of today to become more than just a spectator, and it's exciting to think about what kinds of athletes these girls are going to be when they grow up now that they have these positive female role models to look up to in sports.

When it comes to coaching girls, they are looked at differently than their male counterparts. Males are looked at as the normative athlete and coaches believe that you can push them harder than females because they are "naturally aggressive" and can deal with the harsh truths about their performance on the playing field. Girls should be coached in ways that will build their self-esteem up and isn't too harsh or inconsiderate of their feelings (Lavoi, Becker, Maxwell 2007). One of the biggest problems with trying to change this coaching philosophy is that the coaches of female sports aren't changing the way that they coach females and there aren't enough females with experience in these situations to assist with leading the team.
When somebody can relate to how the girls are feeling in a situation, it can help shape the way that they are coached.

Breaking down the team concepts of both male and female sports, we can see a distinct difference in the team philosophy while playing. Males are known to focus more on a few star players and revolving the game plan around him, while females usually adopt a team first strategy that gets everybody involved (DeBoer 2004). These are both strategies that have proven to work well for teams in the past, both male and female, but teams that have star players that can work well within a team first strategy can prove to be a phenomenal attribute to any team and almost guarantees success.

There are many differences that can be seen in today's society between male and female sports. Female sports are starting to breakthrough into a more mainstream media and the amount of female participation in sports is definitely on the rise. We are seeing more women in positions of power on teams (coaches, assistants) and female athletes that are reaching the "elite status" in the professional ranks (ex. Lisa Leslie, Serena Williams, Jennie Finch). It is great for girls in sports to have these role models to look up to and because of it more girls want to become active in sports. There are still the stereotypes out there about girls not being able to play sports or be able to coach at a high caliber level, but if you wait another ten or fifteen years, I guarantee that most of those stereotypes will be disbanded as we see a new era of women athletics dawn on our society.

Works Cited

DeBoer, K. J. (2004). Gender and Competition: How Men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently.
LaVoi, N. M. (2009). Occupational Sex Segregation in a Youth Soccer Organization: Females in Positions of Power. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal .
LaVoi, N. M., Becker, E., & Maxwell, H. D. (2007). "Coaching Girls": A Content Analysis of Best-Selling Popular Press Coaching Books. Women in Sport and Physical Activity.

Gender Differences and Similarities

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Is there a difference when coaching either gender? No, the differences lie within each individual person and not their gender. Men from a young age are taught to "toughen up" and not express emotion. Maybe that is why some perceive girls as more emotional or the weaker sex because they have been taught that it is acceptable to express emotion. Society still puts social pressure on males to pursue masculine characteristics such as competitiveness and females to pursue characteristics like compassion. For either gender to take on characteristics of the opposite gender is to some degree still frowned upon in an athletic context, even if it means that it could benefit the athlete to do so.

In DeBoer's chapter on Gender Differences in Competitive Play I hoping to find more similarities than differences, however DeBoer seems to think that there are more differences. I would agree for the most part females and males approach competition differently at a young age, but I was surprised to see that she thinks it still exists as strongly at the elite level of collegiate Division I athletics. DeBoer (2004) equates males viewing losing as losing at "being a man" and females view losing as "getting along" is more preferable to conflict. According to her chapter females cannot compartmentalize life into competitive contests and the rest of their life. A lot of DeBoer's stories and statements can be applied to either gender, not just females. I feel that some of her views are generalizations about gender and she does not allow for exceptions within gender. It was frustrating to read at times because what was written was anecdotal evidence and not scientific research.

In LaVoi, Becker, and Maxwell's (2007) article it states that the primarily non-research based girls coaching books marginalize girls' emotions, skills, and behaviors in sport contexts. The books that were reviewed use language that could cause a reader of the books to think coaching females creates unique and separate problems then to coaching males. LaVoi, Becker, and Maxwell's (2007) research found four main themes emerge within female coaching books of problematizing coaching girls, girls constructed as "other", ambivalence, and sustaining the gender binary. These themes found in the books claim to help "solve" gender issues, but really they are reinforcing current gender stereotypes. Most of the books agree that techniques needed to be taught to be successful in sport are the same, so why is it not similar for the way coaches are teaching the techniques?

One potential way a decrease gender stereotype is to increase the number of female coaches at all age and competitive levels. In LaVoi (2009) females from a state youth soccer league through coaching professional sports were found to be underrepresented, and at most competitive levels are still token females. At the youth soccer level for a state LaVoi (2009) found that there was a steady decline of females in power positions starting at U14's. What needs to be addressed with this data is why the decline starts at U14's. The Tucker Table that I attended earlier in the semester gave a few ideas as to why there are a reduced number of females in power positions. One was some females feel that they are not qualified even though they have played at elite levels or less females want to coach at high levels because it is a constant battle to prove themselves worthy of their position.

I feel that there are more differences in characteristics and personality within one gender than there is between males and females. The only way that the current gender stereotypes will change is if the coaches coaching sport at the youth level coach girls and boys similarly, but still allowing for individual differences. How to change the stereotypes of coaching different genders is the million dollar question.

Sara Goral


DeBoer, Kathleen J. (2004).Gender and Competition.
LaVoi, Nicole M., Erin Becker & Heather D. Maxwell (2007).'Coaching girls': A content analysis of best‐selling popular press coaching books.
LaVoi, N.M. (2009). "Occupational sex segregation in a youth soccer organization: Females in Positions of Power." Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal.18 (2), 25-37.

Differences between genders in sport

Our task this week was to ask people what the similarities and differences were between coaching girls and boys in sport was. The most common answer regarding girls was that,"they are more emotional than boys and that coaches need to prepare themselves for this". The most common answer about boys was that,"the boys are less focused, and are not as smart as the girls". None of the individuals I questioned ever spoke about preparing for the job of coaching boys. LaVoi (2007) used many resources that provide information for coaching different genders. Many of the books simply explained coaching females as more difficult or excessively different from coaching males. Examples such as "Boys are naturally aggressive, girls aren't" and "most girls view themselves as more negatively than their male counterparts, it is important to look for opportunities to genuinely build their self esteem" (LaVoi et al, 2007).
This is a problem in our society, and the negative stereotypes that correlate between genders is hurting the participation of so many female athletes. Sport participation is seen as an important component of a well-rounded childhood (DeBoer, 2004). If there less females participating in sport due to these stereotypes, this negative outlook is hurting our society as a whole, and change is something worth researching. Luckily there are researchers out there trying to make our society accountable for these misguided view points, and are conducting objective research models.
There also less women involved in coaching athletics in both male and female sports. LaVoi (2009) talks about the importance of having women in positions of power in athletics. LaVoi speaks of how females in these positions are role models for younger women. Sports are represented by a majority of males in positions of powers, and in a comparison to participation as well. In youth soccer women hold a very minimal amount of coaching positions with less than 8% holding head coaches positions (LaVoi, 2009). In order for female sports to continue to grow for the, we need female leaders to step up and make sure their voice is heard. Title IX has provided many opportunities for females in sport, and to this day there is still a decline in female athlete and coaches.

Works Cited

DeBoer, Kathleen J. (2004).Gender and Competition.

LaVoi, Nicole M., Erin Becker & Heather D. Maxwell (2007).'Coaching girls': A content analysis of best‐selling popular press coaching books.

LaVoi, N.M. (2009). "Occupational sex segregation in a youth soccer organization: Females in Positions of Power." Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal.18 (2), 25-37.
-Nathan Morton

Transforming Gender Stereotypes

First and foremost, let me say how awesome the Minnesota Twins fans and the organization have been. I went to the game tonight and the new ballpark is astonishing. I was in awe the entire time and can not wait to go again. With that being said, it is on to gender similarities and differences in sport.

When I asked people what the similarities and differences were between coaching girls and boys in sport, the most popular answer was that girls were more emotional than boys and that coaches need to account for this. However, one answer that I received should take precedent. One person said that ideally, there should be no differences in coaching girls and boys. Most people have been raised to adhere to certain gender stereotypes on participation in sport. However, gender participation in sport in evolving and every aspect of sport should evolve with it.

Deboer (2004) writes that more girls play sports these days than in the past and that gender specificity in relation to sport is gone. However, Deboer says that the attitudes of women and men in sport are still different. In summary, winning is the only important thing for men in sport while it is one of several options for women. According to Deboer, women often consider the "costs" of winning in relation to life. In some words, women might not take sport as seriously as men. This is another idea that I encountered with my interviews on gender differences and similarities. It was often said that men have larger egos and that they feel the need to express this in the context of sport. It is as if sport is a microcosm of life for men. This is not a common belief is the realm of women's sports, but should be considered when Deboer says that gender specificity is gone.

LaVoi, Becker, and Maxwell (2007) examine books about coaching girls. They say that popular books in this arena are written from a perspective of inflated gender difference. They also say that media is the primary means of resistance to a positive view of female participation in sport. According to the authors, books on coaching girls support participation, but trivialize participation as not as important as male participation. This is done in a hypocritical manner judging from the proposed intention of these best-selling books. Yes, coaching men and women is different in many ways and may need some separate tactics. However, in the words of one interviewee, "Ideally, there should be no differences." Hopefully, we are moving closer to cooperation of women and men in sport.

One way to challenge gender stereotypes is for females to be in positions of power in sport. According to LaVoi (2009), youth sport can be a mechanism of change in this manner because of the participation of millions, among other factors. Females in positions of power in the growing spectrum of youth sport can challenge sex segregation. LaVoi explains that occupational sex segregation comes in the forms of tokenism and marginalization where females' roles are minimalized or scrutinized. Female head coaches in youth sport can be a start to transforming gender stereotypes.

Matt DeVinney

Females in Athletics

In the article written by DeBoer about gender differences in sports, there were several key points that I thought were really valuable, as well as a few things that I personally would disagree with. Her writing was very enticing because she included a lot of personal examples which gives the writing a sense of some sort of credibility or base. I find that the more an author can back up what they're saying or put it in a situational framework, the more effective it is for the reader. One of the topics that I thought was interesting as well important was when DeBoer was talking about the importance of a coach trying to adapt to the mindset of the players. The example she used about the girl Angela competing against her friend Cathy in practice and how Angela's lack of effort frustrated the coach, and in return the coach tried to reinforce Angela's motivation in the wrong way reminds us of how important our means of communication with our athletes is and how as a coach you really have to be careful about what you say and how you say it. One of the main points that DeBoer made that I would disagree with is how much she emphasized the difference in the level of competitive drive between men and women. She talked about how men live their lives by a "scorecard" manner; how men always compare their successes and accomplishments to those around them. She then goes on to say that women are basically the opposite. When women participate in activities they are in search of the social aspect and just being more relaxed. I would believe that, generally speaking, you are going to find that men express their competitiveness more readily and it is maybe more apparent, but I know that there are a lot of very competitive women out there and the feeling I got from DeBoer's writing was that she was over generalizing that all women lack the competitive drive that men have.

The part of the article where DeBoer started discussing how women who win often actual "lose" was something that I could relate to and am a bit familiar with. I have an older sister who found a lot of success in high school, both in athletics and in the classroom, and towards the end of her high school career she ran into a whirlwind of problems. Coming from Northeastern Wisconsin where it is mostly smaller towns and smaller schools, standout student athletes aren't as prevalent as they are in a more urban area, so when my sister was going through high school, she got a lot of press attention and every time she entered a gym or stepped on the track she turned heads. The other students in her class and in the high school at that time began to have a problem with all the attention she was getting all the time. In a situation like this, you can look at it two ways; if you look at it from the aspect of her peers, they didn't understand how it was fair that they were also working hard and putting in lots of off season training but always being overshadowed by somebody else. That would make it hard not to be a little envious I would think. On a different token, my sister was very down to earth and often times would credit her teammates and those around her for aiding her in her successes. In the end, my sister ended up in a situation identical to what DeBoer describes in the article. She could not wait to graduate and go on to college and escape all the problems her peers were throwing her way.

I think the important thing as a coach to keep in mind is that no matter what gender you're coaching, no matter level you're coaching, and no matter what sport you're coaching, you are never going to have a team of individuals that all respond the best to the exact same coaching style. As a coach you need to be flexible, and you need to be able to read your athletes and respect their individual differences and keep them in mind when coaching them. I think the differences between coaching males and females are an important thing for a coach to understand, but I think it's even more important for the coach to understand the differences among the individuals on the team.

The 'Coaching girls' writing points out how gender based coaching books target coaching males as "the norm" and coaching females as "the other" and the books are often "consistent with previous research on the portrayal of sportswomen, the ambivalent and primary non-researched based messages contained with the books trivialize , misrepresent, distort, and marginalize girls' emotions, thoughts, relationships, skills, and behaviors in sports contexts (Birrell & Theberge, 1994), while upholding coaching boys as a normative praxis and denying the existence of emotions, thoughts, relationships experienced by boys" (LaVoi, Becker, and Maxwell 2007). The article also goes on to talk about how coaching girls' books are geared to "help" female coaches with coaching women. The way that these books are written and with the type of word usage that they contain they are basically convincing people who read them that coaching girls is "more challenging" than coaching boys. From personal experience, in the summer time I coach a one week long boy's basketball camp and a one week long girl's basketball camp, and myself as well as the majority of the other coaches (including about a 50/50 male to female coach ratio) will tell you that we enjoy coaching the girl's camp much more than the boys. The girls generally have more optimistic and positive attitudes and it seems to be less of a struggle to get them to work hard than it is for the boys. Granted we only work with them for one week, which isn't comparable to one whole season.

LaVoi discusses in Females in Positions of Power how the adults who manage and coach youth sports are the ones who have the main influence when it comes to the development of the young athletes. The limited percentage of female coaches results in the lack of a female influence for the athletes who participate in youth sport. There are a wide variety of reasons why having more female coaches would be a beneficial thing. For one, it would limit the stereotype of females being the "helping hand" or the "team mom" and therefore limit the misinterpretation that a lot of young athletes have that females have less sport knowledge than males due to the fact that there are so many more male coaches. Since it has also been discovered that females who have been coached by a female sometime in their career are more likely to become coaches themselves, it increased the likelihood of more females becoming coaches (LaVoi, 2009).

I think in order to make progress in fixing the stereotypes and the assumptions that people have of females in relevance to athletics (including both females as coaches as well as athletes) we need to initially see an increase in female head coaches. The fact that males are predominately the head coaches of sports teams has become too much of an statement in our society. A second major fix that needs to be made is the word usage in referring to female sport teams. When people, books, etc. refer to women in sports being more fragile, emotional, etc. it gives the general population a perception that men's athletics are in a whole different league compared to women's. Lastly, we need to see less emphasis being put on the gender differences of athletes, and more on the individualistic differences of athletes. An athlete is an athlete, no matter what their gender may be.

Works Cited

DeBoer, Kathleen J. (2004).Gender and Competition.

LaVoi, Nicole M., Erin Becker & Heather D. Maxwell (2007).'Coaching girls': A content analysis of best‐selling popular press coaching books.

LaVoi, N.M. (2009). "Occupational sex segregation in a youth soccer organization: Females in Positions of Power." Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal.18 (2), 25-37.

Cory Graef

Gender Differences in Sport

It's amazing how so many people believe that coaching men or women is so much different. It really isn't, but it is perceived as different on the ways that men and women view winning. Men look at everything as a competition. They think that "life is a contest", while women perceive sport as a "social activity as much as a contest" (DeBoer, p. 45). Men always tend to keep score even when it's not even sport related. "For men, the score is the measurement of the success or failure of the exercise, task, or activity (DeBoer, 2004). Kathleen DeBoer states that female athletes try to avoid the "star role" on teams and males thrive and have no problem with being the star player. This is an interesting philosophy but I totally disagree in that there is always a competitive edge with athletes by nature. You cannot tell me that women don't like to be successful. On the other hand I feel as though I can agree from a Male standpoint in that I know playing college hockey, I would have chose playing over a social like a thousand times out of a thousand and she seemed to hit it on the head for me. I always keep score no matter what is going on sport or not. But there are women that do the same thing.

It is amazing to see the uprising in women's athletics in the 35 years. DeBoer (2004) stated that "In, 1973, one in nine girls played high school sports, and in 1998, one in three played. This single statistic reflects a massive social change in our culture." This is a very interesting statistic but I can relate to those numbers. In the past ten years it seems amazing to see how many girls' high school hockey teams have emerged. 20 years ago, girl's high school hockey was virtually non-existent and now there are a tremendous number of teams in Minnesota and all over the country. "However, at no level or age group do females in positions of power attain gender equity" (LaVoi, 2009). There is a significantly higher amount of males in sport than females, but since the Title IX era, that has helped change that in competition.

Since there has been such an uprising in female athletes in the past 35 years, there hasn't been a great number of female coach's. Women hold a very minimal amount of coaching positions with less than 8% holding head coaches positions in most elite level of youth soccer. A common stereotype in society is that usually head coaches are men and men are the only ones who can lead a team (LaVoi, 2009). Tony DiCicco, head coach for the US Women's World Cup winning soccer team often quoted his star player, Mia Hamm, when asked about his coaching style; she would say, "coach us like men, treat us like women (LaVoi, Becker, and Maxwell, 2007)." That is a very interesting quote that sums up exactly the way it should be. I admit that it would be different to have a female coach and take her seriously, but that is the common thought of society. In time that will change, and females will eventually step up and take on that more masculine role.

Chad Georgell


DeBoer, K. J. (2004). Gender and Competition: How Men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently.
LaVoi, N. M. (2009). Occupational Sex Segregation in a Youth Soccer Organization: Females in Positions of Power. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal .
LaVoi, N. M., Becker, E., & Maxwell, H. D. (2007). "Coaching Girls": A Content Analysis of Best-Selling Popular Press Coaching Books. Women in Sport and Physical Activity.

Role of Gender in Shaping Sport Culture and Equity Awareness

Gender impacts many elements of sport participation. Interest in achievement in athletics and life in general is a product of specific beliefs and behaviors. Sport participation is seen as an important component of a well-rounded childhood (DeBoer, 2004). Attitudes determine whether individuals, regardless of gender, are offered equal athletic opportunities. Examining information on the value of competition, media influence, and occupational sex segregation details the role gender plays in shaping beliefs about athletic participation. It also serves as a method of raising awareness to encourage equality and enjoyment in all sport settings.

Perceptions of achievement may or may not be linked to competitive results. The importance of winning may be dependent on male and female athlete's differences of opinion. The male mindset believes winning is the normal primary goal of sport participation (DeBoer, 2004). Men insist on keeping score as it serves as a measurement tool used in labeling activities as successes or failures (DeBoer, 2004). In contrast, women believe winning is one specific option that may not be the most important. Females tend to weigh the costs of winning against factors like interpersonal relationships. If the cost of "being the best" is too high, then winning looses value. Evaluation of the costs of winning by females involves different standards for measuring the benefits of success (DeBoer, 2004). Unlike males, they do not automatically assume that winning is worth any and all sacrifices. Women's self-esteem is dependent on feeling connected to others as much as it is to achievement ratings. Understanding these gender-related differences provides valuable insight on coaching effectiveness. Sports may initially attract females interested in interpersonal benefits, but with help from educated leaders, they can learn to relish competition (DeBoer, 2004). This interaction also provides males with the option of valuing social interaction in addition to measurable outcomes. The question is whether issues of gender are being managed appropriately in popular coaching resources and available opportunities to encourage these results.

Examining the presentation of gender differences in print media and leadership divisions are areas that demand attention. An assessment of best-selling "Coaching Girls" books reveals materials that are subversive to the presence of females in sport in two simultaneous and competing ways (LaVoi, Becker & Maxwell, 2007). The materials do offer support for female coach and athlete participation, but the messages often misrepresent or distort the role of female emotions and interpersonal relationships in sport settings. In addition, they establish methods for interacting with male athletes, typically void of emotion, as the norm for coaching behavior. These books reaffirm the typical gender order by sharing stereotypical coaching knowledge with novice coaches (LaVoi, Becker, Maxwell, 2007.) These gender stereotypes found in print carry over in the form of occupational sex segregation. All levels of sport coaching are typically dominated by males, while females are either marginalized or viewed as tokens (LaVoi, 2009). Findings indicate that out of 5,683 available positions of power in YSA soccer teams, 1,549 were occupied by females (LaVoi, 2009). This information is an example of how differences in gender can be misunderstood serving to limit the provision of equal opportunities for all who are interested in maximizing the benefits of sport participation.

It is important to consider how gender differences in sport are perceived. Focusing on the differences among males and females or even similarities between both genders in athletic context creates a more productive environment (LaVoi, Becker & Maxwell, 2007). Examining whether a coaching resource is void of gender stereotypical themes or whether a sport organization promotes the advancement of female coaches provides valuable feedback on how to support acceptance of sport as a gender equitable domain. Seeking knowledge on the role of gender in sport shapes the future of our athletic culture by pointing to areas in need of change.

DeBoer, K. J. (2004) Gender and competition: How men and women approach work and play differently. Coaches Choice.

LaVoi, N. M., Becker, E. & Maxwell, H. D. (2007). "Coaching Girls": A content analysis of best-selling popular press coaching books. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal. 15, 7-20.

LaVoi, N. M. (2009). Occupational sex segregation in a youth soccer organization: Females in positions of power. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal. 18, 25-37.

-Katie Wurst