New research builds blueprint for success to support teenage girls to play sport and develop as leaders

Research conducted by Christ Church’s Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (spear) and commissioned by Chance to Shine and Natwest has laid out a ‘blueprint’ to support teenage girls to take part in sport.

Sport England data shows that of secondary school age pupils, girls are notably less likely to be ‘active’ (42%), compared to boys (49%).

The Chance to Shine Secondary Schools Girls Programme aims to attract more teenage girls to participate in cricket, become active and learn leadership skills, as well as changing girls’ attitudes towards sport.

Christ Church’s spear team assessed the programme which worked with 1,700 specifically trained ‘Young Leaders’, with a further 2,200 girls taking part in after-school clubs in over 100 state schools across the country.

Young Leaders were first trained to take on coaching responsibilities in sessions and then supported to put those skills into practice in after-school clubs and organising and leading primary school cricket festivals.

The research found there was a significant increase in the number of girls who said they were active every day (from 34% to 39.6%). This was also reflected in changing the girls’ attitudes towards the sport, with just over three quarters (78%) saying that they ‘wanted to play more cricket than before’.

Director of spear Abby Foad, said: “spear’s research demonstrates positive impacts on the 1,700 Young Leaders and 2,200 girls who took part, with a significant increase in the number of girls active every day from 34% to 39.6%, and increases in key leadership qualities including confidence, resilience, creativity and adaptability.

“The research highlights the importance of building self-confidence in girls, motivating them through supporting others and giving them ownership of the activities they take part in.”

The Chance to Shine Secondary Schools Girls Programme was developed after the ‘Sport for Success’ report from the Women in Sport organisation showed that women in senior positions of employment credit playing sport in their youth with developing skills to support a successful career. Their research showed that women who played sport regularly were more likely to be in senior management position; 45% of women who play sport are in management roles, whereas less than a third of women who don’t play sport are managers.

Laura Cordingley, Chief Executive at Chance to Shine, said:“At Chance to Shine we have seen how the power of cricket can support young people to develop the skills that will benefit them throughout their life. The core leadership principles that you can learn, like dealing with setbacks, adapting to changing situations and problem-solving, will all stand girls in good stead through their professional lives.

“The key is to get girls interested in playing sport and this research shows that our programme has not only got more girls active but it has helped them to understand and see the benefits of playing sport.”

Read more at Christ Church Media News Centre.