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In order to best teach skills, you have to consider that some girls may be dealing with a significant amount of stress that impacts how their brains and bodies function.

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You’ve identified techniques that can be particularly helpful in supporting girls who may be living with varying levels of stress. These tactics aren’t only for girls facing stress, they can also be beneficial for all kids.

Asking the right questions

Asking your players questions gives them the opportunity to practice critical thinking that is valuable to their development and success on and off the field. But they must be the right kind of questions.

TLC praise

Giving positive praise is good, but not all praise has the same effect. The TLC strategy will explore how you can use praise to be as impactful as possible.

“Hey, Kenzie, when you helped your teammate up after she fell, that showed great sportsmanship! Great job, let’s go tell the rest of the team!”

TLC praise is powerful because it is specific. By naming the behavior, you are showing that you are paying attention. It is something the player cannot deny or brush off. Using a specific example makes the praise more believable. [39]

It also gives positive words for the players to identify with. Labeling the behaviors gives players new attributes to identify with. Girls often hear negative associations, so we want to give them more positive words to help them define how they view themselves.

Your use of TLC praise will help girls learn to separate who they are and how they are accepted from their performance. Give them praise for specific behaviors, and personalize your interactions to help your athletes believe that you want them to succeed.

TLC praise helps strengthen your players in ways that will benefit them in all walks of life.

"I have found that a lot of women do not have the confidence to feel they are as good as they actually are, we use our videos as highlight reels to build their confidence.”

—Anson Dorrance, coach of UNC’s women’s soccer team. [40]

Communication with girls matters

Girls respond to criticism and praise differently, and the language you use to communicate either is important. Girls will listen less to what you say than to how you say it. They pay attention to your tone and your body language. If either of those is negative, that’s the message, regardless of what comes out of your mouth. [41]

"Coaches who berate and belittle girls turn sports into such a hurtful, harmful experience that dropping out becomes for many a way to avoid further damage to their self-esteem.” [42]


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