“But I don’t like Yoga!” one of my girls cried as she sat on a bench when I announced our next sport. These are some of the most challenging words I have heard from one of my participants. At the beginning of my coaching experience in the Fall, I assumed that every girl would love every sport as much as I did. Now, with four months of coaching under my belt, I am no longer surprised when I have to work harder to engage my girls to participate in a sport that may not be their favorite. I reminded the participants of the five finger contract and how we all promised to commit to trying new sports. This got her into the stretching circle and afterwards, I prepared to teach the new set of yoga moves.
But then, an idea struck me. What if I asked the girls to read off the instructions and help teach each other the yoga poses? When I asked the girls if anybody wanted to lead a yoga pose with me, the girl who said she “didn’t like yoga” immediately volunteered. She beamed as she taught everyone the “tree pose”. After her turn was over, the participant paid close attention to her teammates while they were demonstrating the “downward dog” and “flamingo pose.”
Implementing leadership opportunities is a simple way to let girls shine throughout programming. I believe all of our girls have amazing leadership potential; they just need someone to recognize that ability. I have the privilege of teaching girls that they don’t have to have formal leadership positions, like being a student council representative or class present, to be considered a leader. Our girls become leaders when they are good role models for their teammates, when they answer questions during a discussion, or teach a new stretch. My hope for these girls is that they feel empowered not just to lead in their homes, but in their schools and communities as well. I want them believe that they have the leadership skills to accomplish anything they set their mind to. Including yoga.
Until next time,