Girls really can play any sport boys can, you just have to let them

I've always been a bit shy when it came to sports because I considered myself a girly-girl from a young age. I hated Physical Education and now, as an adult, I have a hard time keeping active because I never developed those skills. I always thought, due to popular belief, that I was just doomed to be "bad at sports" because of my gender. But a new study has found that, at least when it comes to prepubescent kids, there is absolutely no difference in the abilities of boys versus girls


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I'll admit, as a young girl, I don't really remember my parents encouraging me to play sports. It never seemed like a priority to them, though I do remember my dad forcing my brother into Little League baseball, which he hated. Plus, all of my chores as a kid involved helping my mom with the laundry or cooking. But the new study has analyzed data provided by USA Swimming to see how male and female swimmers, ages 6 to 19, compare to one another. Here's what they realized:

The study found no difference in swim performance in children younger than 8. It also found little difference in 11- and 12-year-olds. The effects of puberty began showing in the older swimmers, as the boys began experiencing accelerated growth in height, weight and strength typical of age 13 and older.

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So what's all that mean? Basically that, when we say little girls aren't good at sports, we're wrong. When we assume that they don't have the strength or coordination and teach our daughters that maybe they can't do something, we're doing them a big disservice. Because, as it turns out, none of that matters.

Did you encourage your daughter to play sports? Do you think it's true that boys and girls are the same? Share with us in the comments below!

Image via KG Sand Soccer/flickr

Topics: sports  raising daughters