Being an athlete means so much. It means being in shape to play your sport, willingness to train hard, wanting to grow with your team and coaches to be the best you can be. There is loads of pressure from different areas; from school, friends, teammates, coaches, and families. The pressure is part of why we keep training and playing. We want to show that we can and will do what we want and what others have said we couldn’t. We are driven to work hard and to succeed. All athletes experience this in some way.
There is a difference though. I have noticed it and many others have as well. There’s something different about being a female athlete. There is a different form of pressure, there is a different drive, more weight is put on us sometimes, and sometimes if we mess up or if what we do isn’t the norm than we have to prove ourselves again. As female athletes we have to do that a lot , with our peers, coaches, other athletes, and ourselves.
Here’s the truth. Being a female athlete at any level is hard. It takes so much commitment, drive, ethics, morals, and willingness to train hard. There is so much pressure on us to succeed and to compete at the highest levels. There is pressure to act according to how our coaches and peers think we should. Sometimes we have to proof that we have the ability to play at different levels because we are girls.
The other side is that from the hard work and commitment that others before us have completed and strived for has set us up for success. They went through the really tough times where there weren’t many professional or national teams for women. They worked to make those happen and for equality in school athletics. So yes, being a female athlete is hard, it was then and it is now, but every female athlete and coach are making an impact. Each day they take all the pressure and train harder, compete fiercer, and win or lose we have gained something.
Of course there will be times when we get frustrated and don’t feel like we can do anything right. What we need to focus on in those times is knowing that we have what it takes and will succeed and overcome whatever it might be that is affecting us.
There is a standard we should live up to. One that shows we are ready to compete at the highest level, ready to coach at the highest level, it should show what we believe, and also the commitment we have. From this we gain respect and from respect we are taking steps to improve the next wave of female athletes and coaches opportunities. We have the chance to chance the factors of being a female coach and athlete. We are the ones who will make it better for those who come next.
So while it is hard and sometimes the worst, we have the ability to make the truth about being female athletes something awesome. It will always be hard, but in the end it is all worth it.
FCN BLOGGER BIO: Claudia achieved the Coaching F License at 20 and has since coached with Berkshire Soccer Academy in Massachusetts and had experience working with Team First (made up of several of the 1999 USA women’s World Cup winning team). She continues to play for Columbia International University in South Carolina as well as being the Varsity Girls Assistant and a Head Soccer Coach at Ridgeview High School. Claudia is passionate about training other girls to become better athletes on and off the field, like so many coaches did for her.