When two determined moms put their heads together to address a growing problem, they can move mountains with their solution.
Driven to find the answer to why girls were dropping out of sports at a rate 6 times that of boys, Mia Wenjen and former Boston College Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Alison Foley created their book HOW TO COACH GIRLS with the desire to help keep our girls in sports.
It was early 2017 when co-author Mia Wenjen, the mother of two girls involved in sports, had a conversation with her daughter’s coach that planted a seed of an idea.
“My oldest daughter had an amazing volleyball coach who was so positive that even when they lost every game in a tournament,” Mia recalled. “He emphasized their improvements, so it left them feeling like champions. I was walking next to him for a team dinner, and he told me that early in his coaching career, he was that coach that yelled more at the most promising player. Learning how to coach girls effectively took him a long time of trial and error.”
That revelation inspired Mia to reach out to neighbor and friend Alison Foley. Together, the dynamic duo cultivated a plan to create a blueprint for coaches to help shed light on the intricacies of coaching girls and how they could keep girls active in sports.
“Alison, as my neighbor and friend, was always my go-to for any sports-related drama for my girls,” Mia shared. “I wanted to write this book with her because coaching girls is a learned skill, not an innate one. We would like to share this knowledge to help keep girls in sports. So Alison and I set to work looking for answers online and also spent time interviewing other successful coaches. What we learned is that research shows that the number one reason why kids play sports is to have fun. But for girls, “fun” means being valued and respected. Interestingly, kids do not care about winning!”
Using their findings, Mia and Alison dove into the project of writing their first book on the subject, and HOW TO COACH GIRLS, published by Audrey Press, was born.
About The Book
How to Coach Girls provides the most comprehensive guide 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 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 a growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, and the intricacies of coaching your daughter.
This invaluable guide is the brainchild of Alison Foley, former 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 offers 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.–Amazon
About The Authors
Mia is also a blogger at PragmaticMom.com, a mash-up covering education, parenting, and multicultural children’s books. Her blog receives over one million views a year. She is a co-founder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day; a non-profit that celebrates diversity in children’s literature.
A mother of two daughters and a son who play sports year-round, she experienced first-hand how girls react differently than boys as athletes. It is from this, and her husband\’s experience coaching their kids as a volunteer parent soccer and golf coach, that this book was conceived.
Alison Foley is the former Boston College Women\’s Soccer Head Coach and current CEO of Foley Athletic Advising (foleyathleticadvising.com). Her team’s success has led them to the NCAA Final Four and Final Eight during 13 consecutive playoff appearances. In her 20+ year career, she has coached many national team-level players.
Alison started playing soccer at a young age, receiving ODP regional and national invitations. She played for Keene State College, where she was an All-American, and earned a degree in psychology, focusing on the sports psychology of female athletes. She still enjoys playing the game and can be found on the pitch both as a coach and a player.
As a coach, you are in a leadership role, and how you act sends a message and influences your players, Alison noted. “If you are a coach that gets sent off the field for arguing with a ref, that’s what your players will emulate. On the other hand, you have the organization in the form of a team to help others.”
What Readers Can Expect with HOW TO COACH GIRLS
The Big Picture
- Differences Between Girls and Boys
- Keeping It Fun!
- Promoting a Growth Mindset
- Developing Team Chemistry
- The ‘How to be a Good Teammate’ Game
- Positive Reinforcement
- Developing Good People, Not Just Good Players
- Social Awareness
Solutions to Specific Issues
- Coaching Your Own Daughter
- Playing Time
- Building a Player’s Confidence
- Cliques on and Off the Field
- Pitfalls of Choosing Captains
- Handling a Losing Streak
- Supporting Multi-Sport Athletes
- Body Image, Puberty, and Sports
- The Player Code of Conduct
- The Parent Code of Conduct
- Creating a Medical Emergency Plan
- Player Goals and Evaluations
- Pre-Season Logistics