Getting girls active

With 1.9 million girls getting less than the recommended daily activity, our Girls Leadership Programme aims to break down the barriers that prevent them from engaging with sport. Two Chance to Shine coaches share their top tips for doing just that:

Kaleigh Pavitt – Community Coach at Sussex Cricket Foundation

Get everyone laughing and having fun

Get everyone laughing and having fun I play a game of dodgeball, it’s like an icebreaker. If you get them laughing, you engage them straightaway. Everyone wants to get involved, even the ones who were sat on the bench because they don’t like to do P.E. Once they see everyone else having a good time, they ask to have a go. I think it’s a massive thing to try and get them engaged straightaway.

Encourage girls to work together and support each other

Girls like having engagement and everybody being encouraging of everybody. Teamwork is a massive thing, they don’t like to feel left out. If you try and get teamwork into your sessions quite early on, it does help them and pairing those that are quieter with those that may have a bit more experience really helps.

Adapt each session

Adapt it to different things, doing small group activities with different equipment. You might have a tennis ball or you might do a batting activity and they’re hitting off a tee, all those sorts of things that you have in your cricket bag that we can use to help them access it. Some people will benefit from doing skills sessions, but a lot of people benefit from playing games. Don’t always focus on we must do this, we must do that, because that can sometimes scare them off.

Jordan Clarke – Schools Development Manager at Lancashire Cricket Foundation on coaching at Unity College in Burnley

Give everyone the opportunity to contribute their ideas

When designing an event or a competition, you’ve got one person who might say, ‘I want to do a competition for primary aged kids’ and someone else who might think about ‘what else do we want to add to it?’ There were people that were more interested in the media side, so capturing the event on film going around doing little interviews. It soon became not about cricket and playing, but about a wider event. Their different interests that they could bring to the table and contribute as a team.

Allow girls to try out other aspects of the sport

I was really quite surprised about how much they got into scoring a game of cricket. We used the Countdown Cricket app. The girls, they were lining up to umpire the game, people wanted to follow the game ball by ball. I think taking responsibility for the game itself and being an important part of that, even if they’re not playing, that kind of responsibility appeals to some of them a bit more.

Encourage conversations and feedback

It was myself leading the sessions to begin with, and I said next week, we’re going to have a couple of you to run the warm-up. The more confident girls would say, ‘yeah, I’ll give that a go.’ As the weeks progressed, some more hands came up and they would look at their friend like ‘Shall we give it a go?’ and that came from girls who in week one had their arms folded and with a face like they wanted to be anywhere else. The ripple effect, it really helped. There was a really good peer support network because at the end of each session, we would discuss ‘What did you like about that?’ Answers would come in: ‘this was a really creative idea’ or ‘I like that everybody was involved.’ It was really nice for them to hear and it was really good to see them take it on board.

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