Motivation for Female's

What would people request are good ways to deal with the emotional roller-coaster of female athletes. It seems the majority are up and down, have no confidence what so ever, and no matter what you say they just don’t get it. Any suggestions to aid in the development of female athletes? Ages 16-22

I work with alot of teenage girls. Usually when they get to about 19 they are fine emotionally. However between 12 and 18 they can be tough to deal with and very annoying. What most people don’t understand is that when they are all whiny and cranky, that they in fact know better. Hold them to what you deem as proper training behaviour. When they are outside of the track, who cares. Make sure you talk with them, alot. They respond well to two-way conversations. They do not respond well to one-way-male-dominant-shake your head at them-look down from your high and mighty coaching throne sort of lectures.

Talk to them , make sure they understand that when they are at the track to train, that it is business. As far as off the field, I do my best to keep them out of trouble, and tell them that if they are going to smoke pot or do drugs and drink, that they don’t need to train with me…ever. (I know this one is tough, but it has worked well and it gives them something to tell their friends when they are pressured to do stuff…“My coach will kill me if he finds out!” I was told once at a coaching conference, that the coach is most often in these days as much of a father that any of these kids will ever have. It is a tough responsibility, but after years of coaching, I have former athletes come up to me all the time and say thank-you for keeping me strainght edged. And for those who decided to go the other way, a few have come back to say, “You were right, I am getting out of this scene.”

I encourage them, but not too much. They get creeped out if you are too encouraging.

Here is the most important thing…learn to roll your eyes. most of the stuff they are concerned with is a big deal to them, but you need to let them know that there are others on this planet. Teenagers are VERY egocentric. When they start whining, I ask them…“Do you see the sun?!” And that is all I need to say, because I have finished the saying off many so many times in the past that they get the point. It goes like this…“Do you see the sun?” “Yes” (Said with attitude) (oh and do not get them to look directly into the sun, they are dumb enough that they will). “Well do you know what? The Earth revovles around the sun, NOT YOU!” End.

Spot-on Herb. What a wise soul.

A former top international swimming coach once told me he didn’t know how to reason with females to get the best out of them. He just said: “they’ve got to love you” (as a father-figure, or big brother or whatever, before they’ll do the training/lifestyle recommended for them). There may be something in that but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Are there any females on the members list? If not, why not? But if so, maybe they can contribute to our understanding.

My own experiences are that the performance of females on the training track ( continuity of intense and focussed running and lfting etc) is strongly influenced by their love-life off the track.

If the girls/women have a boyfriend(s) - even if they are not particularly supportive of her interest in athletics - then the ladies bring their mind as well as their body to the track. Guys just don’t seem to give a stuff either way. They come to the track often to escape their social dramas elsewhere in their life. They seem much better able to compartmentalise the distractions and disruptive elements in their life.

I know that sounds sexist, but it’s just my experience as a coach.

I’ve developed three female Olympians and a few world junior reps etc and you definitely need to put in as much work on their private life, sorting out their social priorities, comforting and supporting and encouraging them, as you do on the track with their athletics.

Men are probably going through much of the same turmoil but tend to internalise their reasoning processes and you don’t need to talk to them as much. Maybe it’s just that they don’t want to verbalise. It’s easier of course if they do, then you don’t get any nasty surprises when they actually have some huge crisis of confidence which remains unresolved coming into the biggest meet of their life. Yikes! Been there with that one too.

Herb and kitkat: thanks to both of you for many great insights into coaching females.

I think we should also be aware of the menstrual cycle and how this can affect women both physically and emotionally. The responses can be varied. A few years back at a coaching conference, a female sport psychologist really gave me **** because I did not know the cycles of my female athletes.

Also, I would like to add that I have seen that once a female has tasted success and makes a committment to sport, she is very very tough to distract from her training and goals.

In my experience, men love training options for a given requirement and women hate them- “Which one’s better?!”

Yes, now I think about it all the females have basically said “Don’t ask me to think about the options, just tell me what you want and I’ll run it”. The fellas are more interested in making the decisions, therein also accepting part of the responsibility for the success (or failure) of the program. But also claiming ownership of the program, which I think is important if you want to get full commitment from the athlete.

I might differ a little as to the next conclusion. As a general trend, Male athletes tend to be over-confident- and blame a lack of results on others, while female athletes tend to be under-confident and blame a lack of results on themselves. (The truth always lies somewhere in the middle)

Hahahaha, spot on!!!

Also, heaven forbid you change the workout once you have started. "Why are you doing that?.. "

And never ask the question, “Do you think you can complete this last rep?” The answer is always “I’ll do it”. Note the subtle difference between the answer “Yes” and “I’ll do it”. I think I’ll do it means, no, but it was planned so if I can’t do it I have failed.


But I have found that my female athletes response better than my males. Granted 85% of my athletes have been female.

Some athletes prefer disclipine while others prefer a friend. Something that you have to figure. I have found once I have some sort of trust/respect from athlete they talk to me or trust my judgement.

Great point Charlie about males being over confident and blaming others.

too bad i didn’t see this one earlier since i’m a 17-year old female.
i kind of resent the generalization that we are cranky and whining… training is probably the area where i am most mature and try to let other issues stay out of the picture. however, the boyfriend point is on the mark, as well as the “just tell me what to do” attitude. i put a lot of trust into my male coaches and prefer to be told what to do, and i tend to trust female coaches less… probably a sexist attitude, but thats the way it is.

we are just as tough as men, and in many cases far more so!
the more you challenge, the more we respond, at least for me. i wouldn’t say try to be too nice like dad, only give praise when it is earned. and don’t let us go off and be stupid on weekends- it was my male coaches who got me to stop smoking, drinking and doing drugs.

I’ve taught lots of people to juggle(and may never do so again-long story, but I’m sick of it is the Cliff’s Notes version) and there’s a big difference between the way females of whatever age take to coaching or teaching and the way guys do.

IME, it’s like this: guys will halfway listen and then halfway try what I tell them, and gradually believe me more and more as what I tell them continues to work. They also tend to want explanation.

The girls won’t hardly listen at all until they are convinced that I am for real and have good information for them. Then they totally accept everything --it’s like a switch, from much skepticism to total belief, click!
They then don’t want any explication, just direction.

As to coachability, it’s again all or nothing: if a girl/woman 13 or up will not do the “I’m a girl, look at me, it’s so cute how I’m so helpless and ditsy” thing and really focus, then they’re more coachable then guys, namely they dowhat I tell them and not some halfway crap that will never work. But most of them do do that, so there’s no point in trying unless you can get them to not do that.

The emotional baggage with today’s youth is overwhelming. It drains my soul…but I wake up and do it again with 100% effort. Some days I feel like my spirit has been bleeched.

Women athletes that I have worked with need to buy into reason and logic of how training will get them the results and have them build confidence from challanges of lifting and skill…men need accountablity.

my two cents.

Todays youth have it so hard!!! Ya right

I beleive that every generation feels that same way, and if we look back at our coaches they woudl have commented equally.

I feel that the best success will come from the athlete that believes in the system.

Coach Luc

I think the stresses of children these days are different than when I was young. I have noticed that they are expected to grow up quicker and earlier than I had to. Some of my athletes under 15 are expected to ace all there school work, be mature and know what they want to do with there life.

At that age I was more interested running amok, having fun and being with friends. I knew what I wanted to do, but haven’t done.

The other thing I have noticed is that people want results quickly and not do the time.


Well said :slight_smile:

I feel that the best success will come from the athlete that believes in the system.

What about an athlete that helps develop the system?