Social Factors to Consider for Female Athletes

As a female there are many factors that contribute to the confidence of the athlete, and to perform at their best in whatever sport that choose, they have to be confident in both their ability and themselves.

Not just related to females in sport, but as part of our series on female athletes, we take a look at the social factors that can play a part in impacting our athletes.

Social Factors

What Different Social Factors Could Impact Someone’s Self Confidence

  • School/Work
  • Training
  • Home Life
  • Media

Females have been in the media and on the world stage for a long time with photoshop faces and bodies, minimal clothing and limited representation of body shapes and sizes. Creating a norm that females should be this and should be that.

The average time spent on social media for a vast majority of people is 3.5 hours a day.

So how many advertisements have girls seen, how many models have they liked? How many low carb diets? The latest fad diet or the latest training fad to get you to lose weight and not look too strong, have they seen…

The list is endless and with it, we see more and more females buying into this belief of how they should conform.

It’s vital to be educating our female athletes that to perform the best they can, they need to fuel their body correctly, put effort into their gym training and sport training, and learn that it is okay to be strong, fit, beautiful and healthy.

The Difference Between a Female Athlete and Non-Athlete

School and University is the typical area where a young athlete is going to feel different to those that are going to school and doing more casual extra curricular activities here and there.

Key difference are that female athletes are training with a purpose, they want to get better, they want to have a goal that they want to achieve, both in and out of competition.

Noticeable differences that could impact their confidence are:

  • Looking different than the other girls
  • Eating more food than the others
  • Not fitting into the smallest sized clothing
  • Not having as much time to be social due to training schedule
  • Getting bullied by groups of people at school for not fitting in

Knowing When an Athlete is Suffering

  • Food isn’t being eaten that a parent has packed for lunch
  • They start to take out carbs from their diet and decrease food intake
  • Wearing baggy clothing
  • Worrying about lifting heavy weights when doing strength training
  • Quiet and feeling down and out at training or in their day to day life

Changes to a Female’s Body During Growth and Development

Each and every female is different, with different genetics, different lifestyles and different backgrounds. If we take all of this into consideration we can understand that not every female is going to look the same.

Key changes during growth and development are:

  • Periods begin and can happen between the ages of 7-15
  • Hips get wider
  • The body may get curvier
  • Development of breasts
  • Armpit and Pubic Hair

Key Considerations specific for female athletes:

  • Fluctuation in weight
  • Low iron
  • Low energy
  • Increased appetite
  • Delayed menstrual cycle start / missed cycles

Recommendations for the Female Athlete

As coaches and parents we need to be aware of what is going on in our athletes lives, have an idea if they are in a situation that is affecting their mental health and confidence, and be able to give them the correct tools to have fun and be healthy in their chosen sport.

1. Seeing a Sports Dietician is a great way to see if you as a parent/coach are giving the right guidance to your daughter/athlete to perform and feel their best.

Are they eating at the right time prior during the day and how should they fuel around their training? Are they eating too much? Are they eating too little? All factors that could affect their growth and development as well as their performance.

2. Strength and Conditioning programs are super important for a female athlete’s performance in and out of their chosen sport.

In most sports the best athletes are known for their strength, speed, agility and power. Which always enhances one’s athletic skill and ability. If we can increase the training age, then this sets up a platform for progression in life and hopefully a full time career in their chosen field.

3. Using the correct language around our female athletes.

Examples of this are “you’re eating too much” or “you’re too big” and need to lose weight.

Finding a health professional that has experience with these hard conversations is where we need to progress moving forward.

Want To Know More

If you would like to know more or you’re a female athlete looking for a performance coach and environment to train in, please contact our Strength & Conditioning Coach Shona O’Connell-Shea to book in a session.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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