Being active is key to building self-confidence, self-love, self-awareness, and independence. The more they do the less they think, and we all know how unproductive overthinking can be. As a parent, staying positive, supportive, and honest is the best way you can help your daughter in whatever activity she chooses.
My daughter Atlanta is 19 and currently on a rowing scholarship in Seattle at the University of Washington. She was an avid water polo player, netballer, and rower at school, so it was difficult trying to help her do all of those sports because of the time conflicts, demands of each sport and lack of energy she had at times. Ultimately my advice is … if your child is passionate about anything, help them to do it. Move heaven and earth to make it happen because they will be more successful if they are self-motivated rather than worrying about parental ambitions.
As Sports Manager at Westlake Girls High School, we are focused on building participation platforms for students to get active at school. Social teams and ‘Learn to Play’ programmes like Just Play, service less competitive needs at Westlake Girls and allow students to try sports they haven’t done before, like lacrosse, handball, volleyball, badminton, and table tennis.
When I started at Westlake Girls, one of the exciting aims was to increase the numbers of students participating in sport without cross-pollinating. We already have a number of talented teams competing at the highest level of secondary schools’ competitions, but it was exciting to embrace the challenge of making the number of participants grow. The volleyball programme was the first sport that saw a vast improvement over the past 3 years with more students creating their own teams and having fun with friends or making new friends in the Harbour League.
Some students do feel self-conscious due to body image, peer pressure or lack of physical ability and it makes them reluctant to give something a go. However, the key is to create a non-judgmental space where they feel comfortable and welcome. We know that there is always something for everyone and there is also a level for everyone too. Staying active includes not only sports but dance, theatre sports and even walking. My favourite form of exercise these days is walking … something most young women can do.