Monday, March 05, 2018

How to Coach Girls

38621640Wenjen, Mia and Foley, Alison. How to Coach Girls
March 1st 2018 by Audrey Press
ARC provided by the publisher

This short but very complete volume addresses a wide variety of issues of coaching but emphasizes the need for coaches to recognize the special concerns of girls in sports. Since middle school girls are particularly vulnerable to quitting sports they love because of social pressures, this is a much needed book! The section on "The Big Picture" covers topics such as developing team chemistry, making sure that players are good teammates, and developing the whole athlete so that children are not just good at their game, but good people as well. These are all very important aspects of the cross country program with which I help, so it was good to reinforce that material, but the information about "keeping it fun" which includes CAKE was good to read as well. With 75 runners, the "fun" aspects has proven to be harder and harder to maintain, but it's such a crucial element.

The section on solutions to specific issues is something that would have been useful to me when I was coaching my own daughter! Many coaches do this, and it's hard to understand why methods that work with other athletes might not work with one's own child! Cliques, confidence, captains, losing streaks, and the all important topic of body image are covered in just enough detail to inform beginning coaches of these pitfalls while offering helpful advice for seasoned coaches who might not have been able to come up with a good approach to some of them. (You have to break large teams into smaller groups, and we always agonize about it!)

After working with a seasoned coach for ten years, we have a good pre-season plan (it often feels like it's a year round plan!), but new coaches will definitely want to make sure that they pay special attention to the codes of contact and especially the medical emergency plans. (I've never thought about back up contact lenses, but then it's pretty easy to run without corrective lenses, judging from my own experiences of running without them and the number of glasses I hold onto every season!)

The book itself is a great small size to through in a coach's backpack, although since I am used to reading middle grade literature, the print seemed awfully tiny. This is a great resource for anyone coaching girls, and Girls of the Run should definitely buy these in bulk and hand them out with their resource boxes for this program! It also makes a great gift for the coaches in your daughters' lives-- combined with some chocolate, just for the "fun" factor!

Other Stops on the HTCG Blog Tour:

 Shelly Bean the Sports Queen-February 22
  Wise Owl Factory-March 1
  The Conscious Kid- March 2
  Jump Into a Book-March 3
  Books My Kids Read-March 4
  Ms Yingling Reads-March 5
  Youth Lit Reviews-March 6
  All Done Monkey-March 7
  Miss Panda Chinese-March 8
  Biracial Bookworms-March 9
  Mom of all Capes-March 10
  Franticmommy-March 11
  Randomly Reading-March 12
  Here Wee Read-March 13 14
  The Pragmatic Parent-March 15

From the Publisher:
How to Coach Girls provides the most comprehensive guide available to the many issues associated with coaching girls teams across the spectrum of sports, from soccer to lacrosse, field hockey to softball. Volunteer parents and experienced coaches alike will find invaluable advice on the process of making a successful team, encouraging girls to stay in sports beyond the middle school years. Twenty-two chapters cover all the major issues, including how to pick captains, the importance of growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, as well as the intricacies of coaching your own daughter.This invaluable guide is the brainchild of Alison Foley, Head Coach of Women's Soccer at Boston College and Mia Wenjen, a parenting and education blogger at PragmaticMom and mother of two daughters, who provide personal accounts to illustrate issues discussed throughout the book. The combination of Mia's voice of parental experience coupled with Alison's professional expertise provides an innovative and highly accessible approach to considering potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.In the final section, a broad range of experienced college coaches, including former Olympians, give crucial guidance on what it is that girls need from a coach to allow them to flourish in sports, and most importantly, have fun.


To learn more, please check out How To Coach Girls website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So what can be done to retain girls in sports? The answers and so much more can be found in HOW TO COACH GIRLS. I am so proud to be able to support my friend Mia while also offering such a well-written guide that help parents and coaches understand the needs and tactics to make sports fun while cultivating WINNERS.

34921659Afremow, Jim. The Young Champion's Mind: How to think, train, and thrive like an elite athlete
March 13th 2018 by Rodale Kids
ARC from the publisher at ALA

This is a great resource for high school athletes or middle school ones who are super focused and invested in doing well. Again, the print is a bit on the small side, and the topics covered are a little more in depth. If you've ever tried to run a positive visualization exercise with middle schoolers, you'll understand! The information on nutrition is solid, but most of this book really is about mind set and thinking about sports.

Award-winning coach and sports psychologist Jim Afremow has helped everyone from Olympians to professional athletes train their mind, body, and spirit. Now, in this new young adult edition of his highly praised The Champion’s Mind, Dr. Afremow is helping student athletes do—and feel—their best. Whether you are striving to balance your school and sports accomplishments, or just get that extra edge in your sport, his sage advice will be a much-needed guide in helping you navigate the field—or rink or court.


  1. How lovely you had coached your daughter's team. I'm a bit fascinated by coaches b/c of how they have to come up with plays and such.

  2. This sounds like a great resource - I know growing up that a lot of girls dropped out of sports because they weren't "cool", or because they were worried that boys would think they were too "tough" and not "feminine" enough. Such a shame, and hopefully one that future mentors can help challenge!

  3. I'll share these Karen. I have little use for them now, but they do sound good!

  4. These books, especially the first sound like invaluable tools. While I don't coach now, I have friends who do. I will let them know about these.
    (All regular sized print is too small for me and I need a lot more light than I us d to just to read middle grade)

  5. My daughter used to be part of the basketball varsity team - this would have been a great read for her. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you so much for your support of HOW TO COACH GIRLS and for joining our blog tour! I was glad to learn about The Young Champion's Mind: How to think, train, and thrive like an elite athlete!

  7. Oh my goodness. Your post brought tears to my eyes. This is the last year my daughter played with her team -- the same team she's been on for years. I wish so badly I could get these resources into the hands of our local middle school coaches without coming off as condescending. It's been a rough couple years and I guess it's not too surprising that her last year of middle school is when she called it quits on her favorite sport. She didn't leave angry, thank goodness. But she did leave very disappointed. Thanks for the shares!