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Coaches should help girls make friends.

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Athlete-to-athlete relationships have important impacts on and off the field. Friendships can provide a protective layer for each player. Winning is more rewarding with friends, and losing is easier to bear with friends.

We’ve also established how a strict behavior code can help inform athletes on how the program will watch out for their safety and needs.

The next step is to make sure that your players understand their teammates will also be watching out for them.

Ways to create prosocial connections

To do this, you as a coach should work on creating prosocial connections by implementing different strategies to see what works well for your team.

Use grouping strategies that randomize partners

Find someone wearing similar shoes as you, line up by birthday, or count off by number.

Assign warm-up partners who normally wouldn’t work together

Catchers and outfielders, centers and point guards, different track and field event athletes.

Use your knowledge of players to assign partners with similar interests

Girls who love cats or who both play an instrument.

Use grouping strategies that deepen existing relationships

Let the girls choose a friend to pair up with and have a conversation.

Sometimes it helps to think about your own friends. Where did you meet them? What were the circumstances? How long have you been friends?

You may have one or two best friends that you’ve known for a long time. These friends help you through good and bad situations, and you’ve done the same for them. As a coach, you can help create lasting friendships that will extend far beyond the time your athletes spend on your team.

Remember, it’s not all on you as a coach. You have access to a set of helpers. That’s the beauty of a team: the girls can help each other feel safe. The sooner you’re able to get the team working on things that help everyone feel safe, the easier your job will get.


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