June 12th, 2024

FAME: Moms and dads both make a difference in daughters’ active lives

By None on June 27, 2018.

A recent article from Active For Life talked about an exciting new study that shows that fathers strongly influence daughters’ activity levels. In the world of female sport we often think that it is up to female role models to lead the way and that they are the only ones that girls will pay attention to. However, a new study out of the University of Newcastle in Australia learned that fathers who were more physically active and engaged with their daughters help their daughters to grow more active and confident.

As an active young girl, I was fortunate to have both my father and mother spend many hours with my brothers and I in active environments. Now knowing about this study, I can reflect back on the time spent with my father and appreciate all that he did to build my own confidence. He was there in the outdoor pool with me encouraging me to jump off the side. He allowed me to get frustrated on the golf course, then refocus and take another swing. I even remember him trying to deflect in my corner kicks as I prepared for college soccer. My dad allowed me to fail, but never to quit.

Now as a coach, I find myself repeating the words that my father once said. I have been fortunate to have some amazing coaching mentors in my life but when I look at my core values as a coach it is often my dad’s voice that still resonates most strongly. He taught me the value of hard work through sport. Dad reiterated respect for everyone in game whether it be your teammates, your coach, the official or your opponents. His passion and enthusiasm for helping others in a way that would build them up rather than bring them down is something I think about every time I coach.

The Australian study has important implications for parents. We know from other research the girls are at a risk of reduced participation in sport and physical activity. They tend to be less active then boys and develop less physical confidence and competence. To now know that both mothers and fathers can have a significant impact on their daughters’ physical health is truly exciting.

Tara Chisholm is the head coach of the Canadian National Women’s Sledge Hockey Team and is a member of the Females in Action Moving and Empowering committee. She can be reached at tara@parasports.net.

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