This season, I am ‘that girls coach guy’ and I don’t quite know how this happened.
I knew coming out to the States that the girls game is bigger than the boys in many regions so I was preparing myself to deal with girls on a regular basis. But not this regular.
Looking back to when I was told what teams I would take in the summer, I hardly blinked. I was just grateful to be out here and have access to three teams, with hard working players, away from home (for a while at least, I still love you England). But it’s when I think to people’s reactions when they hear I am only coaching girls I smile.
‘Wow, that must be handful!’
‘That sounds like a lot of work!’
‘Aww, how fun!’
People have a perception that coaching girls is wholly different to coaching boys. Driven by stereotype, many hold the view that they are too emotionally invested, are cliquey and lack a competitive nature. Truthfully, yes there are certain characteristics that are more prevalent with one gender compared to the other. Some of these characteristics can be negative such as the examples mentioned, but that is just one side to the coin. There are obviously many high quality characteristics that are worth noting too such as kindness, love, selflessness. These characteristics then manifest as energies and become the driving force behind a team if they are present on a consistent basis. In fact, there are many ‘energies’ that are shared and are actually borrowed from each gender on a regular basis in many harmonious and victorious teams.
As I reflect, I understand that regardless of what teams I have been involved with as the coach, there has and always will be a need to find a balance between masculine and feminine energy.
It is the classic case of ying and yang. It doesn’t matter if you are a mens’ team used to winning most games or a junior girls’ team starting out, you need to create an environment in which both feminine and masculine energies are present and can work in union. The difficulty comes in deciding how far the scales will tip.
The above diagram shows how ‘healthy’ humans hold 60% of their own gender’s energies while the remaining 40% comes from the opposite spectrum.
Looking in my case working solely with females I have noted that there are persistent energies that are present in our environment in all three of my teams.
The girls are expressive, supportive, patient, sympathetic and respectful.
But as well as this there are male energies that we are constantly borrowing from and I continue to encourage us to do so.
Self confidence, risk taking, decisiveness, focus, assertiveness are just some of the examples that are either actively spoken about our indirectly alluded to in our sessions and games.
So why is it so important to strike a balance?
Of course one does not necessarily need to find a balance. One can go completely one way on the spectrum either masculine or feminine and enjoy the powers that come with it. But in doing so, the imbalance on the scales will eventually lead to an unraveling of the worst energies of the spectrum.
The best energies from the masculine spectrum are those relating to strength however the worst are those that could be classed as evil. Conversely in the extremities of the female spectrum one will experience the highs of goodness, (the opposite to the worst energies in the male spectrum) but this then opens the door to experiencing energies that could be classed as weakness (the opposite to the best energies in the male spectrum).
Now I’m going to hold my hands up and say I’m not sure how much academic research and writing has been done on this matter but I can certainly admit to knowing first hand of individuals close to me who have suffered due to their lack of energetic imbalance.
The plight of these individuals has prepared me better than any coaching course or books have managed.
I’m sure there is a lot of useful and influential material out there to help me as I navigate my season of coaching these girls but I must say that so far just the simple acknowledgement that there is a need to borrow from the opposite spectrum while celebrating and harnessing the energies from your own gender’s spectrum are essential in creating and experiencing a healthy environment on which success can be built.
So what has this meant in terms of my coaching?
Well I have allowed the girls to be girls. They like to talk at any given opportunity and this is fine. Water breaks, warm ups and cool downs belong to them. This is where they connect with one another and share stories to strengthen their ties. High feminine energies on show.
However I have had to actively introduce some masculine energy into the environment. This is most frequently seen in when in my delivery of information. I have made sure to make it an interactive process by placing the emphasis on them and proving their understanding. There is some initial direct information given but I soon move into questioning. I want them to take command and think for themselves rather than be directed. I also make sure that there is a balance in the manner in which I deliver my information. Calm yet free flowing. Fiery yet precise.
In order to be a success with my all of my girls, I need to understand that each team will have a different profile on the spectrum and that some teams and individuals will be better suited to more female energies than others.
It’s my task to work this out and keep the teams in their individual sweet spots throughout the season and I am relishing the challenge.