While we all know that team sports are a great way to have fun, make friends, and stay in shape, new research shows that being involved in athletics can have far reaching benefits for women. A report from CNN details the ways that playing sports can help women succeed in their professional lives. Read on as we sift through the data to see what it is about team sports that is giving so many women the edge.
A Trend Among Successful Women
CNN noticed a trend among women who are leading figures in the worlds of business and politics: many of them played team sports in their youth. Here are a few of the high profile examples they cited:
- Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsi, played cricket in college in India.
- Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was a member of the national synchronized swimming team in France.
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played soccer, tennis, softball, and basketball while growing up.
- Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin played basketball in high school, earning the nickname “Sarah Barracuda”.
- Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, played both lacrosse and squash at Princeton.
Why does playing team sports have such a strong correlation with professional success for women? One major reasons is confidence. Studies show that girls who play sports consistently have higher levels of self-esteem and confidence than those who don’t. As adults, women are able to draw on their athletic training to power through obstacles that stand in their way.
In the CNN article, Beth Brooke-Marciniak, the global vice chair of public policy for Ernst & Young, explains how sports can inspire young women:
“When society’s telling you you’re this or you’re that, you’ve proven on the court or on the field that you can overcome anything. You can overcome a team telling you that you’re no good. … You just don’t want to listen to whatever anyone is going to tell you because success will be defined on the scoreboard and that’s all that matters.”
Sports are Great for Networking
For years, men have benefited from the connections they made playing sports in college. Particularly in the financial industry, involvement in university athletics has reliably led to a job on Wall Street. Now women are increasingly taking advantage of these networking opportunities as well.
Banks, finance companies, and other large corporations are starting to actively recruit women with team sports experience because they have found that they make excellent employees. Ernst & Young recently created a Women Athletes Business Network to help female athletes transition to careers in business.
Despite all of the benefits that come with participating in team sports, by the time they are 14, girls drop out of athletics at twice the rate of boys. The key to getting young women to stick with sports is to make athletics a central part of their life from a young age.
Here at Rocky Top Sports World, we offer endless opportunities for girls of all ages and abilities to get involved with team sports. With camps, tournaments, leagues, and other great events, there is truly something for everyone at our Gatlinburg sports complex. Visit the Rocky Top Sports World Events page to see everything going on at our campus this year!