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Developing Boys Versus Developing Girls

June 16, 2005 10:18 AM

By Jim Brown, Ph.D, Executive Editor, Sports Performance Journal, Author, Tennis: Steps to Success

Dr. Carol Wood, an associate professor in the Department of Physical Education at Salisbury State University in Maryland and a child development expert, shares her thoughts with parents regarding the athletic development of boys and girls.

“At young ages, there is not a big difference in boys and girls in physical skills unless their experiences have been different. The more active the parents are in sports, the more likely the child will be, also. The girl who is interested in soccer at the age of six will naturally be just as skilled as a boy. That will change at puberty (9-12 for girls; 12-14 for boys), when boys will begin to develop more strength while girls’ strength levels off.”

Wood thinks there is a big difference in boys and girls when it comes to team play.

“Probably because of cultural differences, a coach can chew out a boy and he’ll probably shrug it off. But if the coach says the same thing to a girl, there is research to show that it is likely to have an impact on her self-esteem.”

Wood suggests that parents make sure that whoever coaches their children has some experience and training in how to communicate with each gender.”

© 2005 HMS Publishing, Inc.
Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at




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