Sport can be a powerful force in a girl’s life. But research shows that even when girls enter sport, they often drop out before they’re able to fully reap the benefits. Globally, 45 percent of teenage girls are dropping out of sport at twice the rate of boys, and sadly, low body confidence is the number one reason why. To help change it, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport collaborated with other world-renowned experts and two global brands to do something about it.
For the last three years, The Tucker Center Team worked together with the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR)—international experts on body image and appearance research; Nike—the biggest champion of athletes and sport in the world; and Dove—the world’s biggest provider of self-esteem and body confidence education to develop Body Confident Sport.
Body Confident Sport is a first-of-its-kind set of coaching tools to build body confidence in 11- to 17-year-old girls (and individuals across the full gender spectrum). The program was designed using input from girls and coaches in six countries (France, India, Japan, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S.), and it was scientifically proven to improve self-esteem and body confidence in clinical trials with more than 1,200 girls, and also proved to upskill coaches in creating a body confident climate for girls.
“As educators and researchers, we know that having a well-trained, caring coach is critical to helping kids reach their potential in and through sport, and this is particularly true for girls,” says Tucker Center Director Nicole M. LaVoi. “At the Tucker Center, our mission is to accelerate systems change and we are leading this effort through coach education by first launching Coaching HER in March of 2023, and now the Body Confident Sport tool.”
LaVoi adds that changing the system requires collaboration. Through both tools, coaches around the world will have a unique opportunity to challenge and change damaging gender bias and stereotypes, support girls’ needs in sport, value all girls’ identities, and shift the conversation from what girls’ bodies look like to what their bodies can do.
“I’m honored to be launching this tool with our talented and committed global team and I’m inviting everyone to join our efforts to uplift girls in sport in two easy ways,” she says. “Learn more about the Coaching HER and Body Confident Sport programs and share the coaching tool with others.”