Monday, September 22, 2014

Girls Are Different

The last time I was in the gym, two girls -- a seven year old and an eight year old -- showed up ready for boxing.  Their mothers expressed an interest in their daughters knowing how to defend themselves.  That's not a bad goal.  My mother was always on my younger sister and I (and my youngest brother to an extent) about the importance of knowing how to fight.

However, the boxing lesson didn't go as I planned.  The girls quickly grew disinterested in my attempts to show them how to stand and throw left jabs.  They preferred to play other games, including King Chase The Queen, which I haven't played since I was in grade school (but I remembered the rules of the game).  So our time together alternated between me showing them a little bit of boxing, and them playing schoolyard games. The girls had fun, and I hope they return.  The time spent with them taught me some lessons about youths and boxing, especially where girls are concerned.

The girl in the above video is about five years old.  Her punches aren't a joke, as you will see when you watch her work.  Some girls are going to walk into boxing ready to take on all comers.  But most others may not.  

Even in the 21st century, most little girls are still being sent the message that it is not ladylike to fight (and not to do most other things that girls supposedly shouldn't do).Girls are usually taught early on to be neat and clean, while the boys aren't admonished much for playing rough and getting dirty. Some parents become concerned if their pre-teen and teenage girls seem a bit too tomboyish for their taste.  Most recently, Mo'ne Davis, who was generating a lot of attention for her baseball playing skills in the Little League World Championships was asked by FOX News reporter Eric Bolling why didn't she take up other "female friendly" sports.

Coaches have to consider these issues when coaching little girls and teenage girls.  I'm not saying that a different approach has to be taken in teaching the sport.  Boxing is what it is.  But being aware of how differently society treats females, especially those who want to do something that is considered out of the "norm", is helpful in encouraging to pursue their interest, if they choose to stay with boxing.

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