Sport for Self Confidence - Your Daughter Can Be An Everyday Heroine!

Let’s face it – it’s tough being a kid! If you look back on your own childhood, I bet there’s a memory or ten where you felt like you just didn’t belong. If your daughter is lacking in confidence, you can help steer her in the right direction through sport.

Before you object, consider that sport doesn’t have to be a highly competitive and aggressive world peppered with the fear of being “picked last”, sport can encourage team work, belonging and achievement without risk of rejection or failure – you just need the right sport!

Sport for Girls without fear of being “picked last”

While there are plenty of sporting organisations that foster a “co-opeative” philosophy, there’s one that helps girls realise something far greater than physical fitness and belonging – it gives them the opportunity to become a real life heroine! The sport is challenging and demanding but the rewards for girls are priceless…it’s Surf Lifesaving.

Surf Lifesaving programs are ultimate in self esteem building for girls from as young as 5, giving them a life long hobby that will be a consistant source of pride and accomplishment. Programs for children differ from state to state, country to country but are known Junior Surf Life Savers, Junior Lifeguards or The Nippers. These programs focus on sports like surfing, swimming and running while framing the activity in a first aid and life saving context.

Sport Without Rules but With Many Lessons

As Junior Life Guards don’t compete in an actual game (unless they wish to enter competitions), there are no specific rules. But the lessons are many and meaningful. Junior Life Guards aim to maximize the child’s potential in a non-threatening, but still challenging, environment. Kids feel part of a team that allows them to feed off the energy and enthusiasm of their peers.
Junior Life Guard programs are usually open to children aged 5 to 13 years old and aims to build confidence while being a fun way for girls to enjoy and learn about the dangers of the beach, water safety, first aid and physical endurance in a safe, supervised environment.

Sport for Mental Health Benefits

The benefits of kids’ involvement in sport are widely known, from physical health to easing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Developmentally, children benefit greatly from feeling “part of a group” from around the age of 7 and can suffer anxiety and depression associated with social isolation if their social needs are not met. Group activities like sport help combat social anxiety disorder symptoms but can develop self esteem through leadership skills. Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins from the brain, combating the symptoms of depression. It’s estimated 1 in 5 teenagers experiencing depression symptoms*.

To get involved, contact your nearest patrolled beach or mayor’s office. Surf Life Saving is an ideal sport for girls as the lessons learned can turn them from awkward and struggling, into an everyday, real life heroine!

*(National Health and Medical Research Council. Depression in Young People: Clinical Practice Guidelines. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1997).

Author's Bio: 

Dana Flannery’s professional writing about self esteem building programs for children teens has touched on issues from racism to homophobia to low self esteem and anxiety disorders. She vocally supports the Nippers Program in Australia. She is passionate about working with families through her Marriage Celebrant business.