Home » Team of Experts Channel » Doreen Greenberg, Ph.D. » Girls on Boys Teams » Should I Let My Daughter Play On the Boys' Team?

Should I Let My Daughter Play On the Boys' Team?

To co-ed or not to co-ed
There are advantages and disadvantages. The same-sex team will most likely offer a very different experience. It will probably be less intimidating. It may be easier for some girls to take the initiative as leaders and build their sports skill levels. Overcoming the gender barrier - may not be the athletic role she wants to take on.

So the decision, for a parent and an aspiring young female athlete will be based on her age, her size, her skill level and her reasons for participation in her sport. Is she pretty adept at the fundamentals? Are her skills on equal footing with the boys? Does she thrive on the competition? Is the coach gender-blind - giving equal opportunities to every one? Is it an environment where masculinity and femininity are not questioned?

If you can answer yes -- then let her play! At a time when a young woman is asserting her independence and seeking new, healthy challenges - what better way than to play on the team of her choice. Supportive parents will need to be on their guard -looking out for teasing, inequity in playing time, and bruised egos.

I will also tell you that most elite female athletes I know, at the Olympic and professional level, have trained and competed with and against the boys - and are better for it. They have had to prove their worthiness. They gained a sense of competence in their skills, developed self-assuredness in their risk-taking ability, and were pushed to their full potential -- all within a higher level of competition.

Oh - and now my little girl wears a pink suit to the law practice she works at. What a rebel!

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