GEORGIA SCHAMPERS AND STAFF WRITERS
Suncorp Australia’s Team Girls program is expanding thanks to a recent partnership with Sports Australia, which will help them get more young female players involved in a range of sports.
Suncorp’s Team Girls program launched in 2017 following some shocking statistics released by Sport Australia that found that nearly 50 per cent of all girls stopped playing sport by the age of 17.
Suncorp spokesperson Lisa Rees said the program, which is aimed at girls and young women under the age of 25, aims to encourage participants to build confidence through their involvement with sport.
“Team Girls shines a light on the importance of sport and its many benefits in improving confidence, particularly for teen girls,” Ms Rees said.
The program is being noticed by sporting clubs and professional athletes around the country for building resilient communities and resilient people, establishing a direct line between confidence, success, leadership and team skills.
Team Girls has an existing relationship with specific sporting areas, such as Netball Australia, but the team up with Sport Australia has enabled them to expand their reach.
“We are excited to partner with Sport Australia, we love the philosophy of their movement – to have each other’s backs and show support and loyalty – which applies across all sporting codes, and in fact [across] all areas of life,” Ms Rees said.
“We should be encouraging our teen girls to stay in sport and change the score on girls staying in sport,” she said.
“We know it’s proven that team sports help to instil confidence and camaraderie.”
Sport Australia acting CEO Rob Dalton said there was much more to sport than just the physical health benefits.
“It has the ability to build confidence, self-esteem, team-work, communication, social skills, leadership, goal-setting and resilience,” he said.
“Australia boasts so many amazing female sport stars for young girls to look up to as role models, but we also believe that participation in sport can help build the female leaders of tomorrow – in whatever pursuit they choose.”
“Sport isn’t just about competing to be the world’s best, it’s about bringing out your best self,” Mr Dalton said.
Experienced Australian sports psychologist Georgia Ridler said she was shocked by the high drop-out rate of girls from sport and said the new partnership between Team Girls and Sport Australia was good news.
“For women and girls, sport also provides the opportunity to build confidence and promote movement for the sake of enjoyment, rather than the age-old expectation that movement or exercise is for the purpose of looks,” Ms Ridler said.
Ms Ridler also had some great advice of her own for young women.
“We all want to be confident, seem confident and act confidently, but what we may not realise is that confidence comes from courage,” she said.
“Having the courage to try something new and realise that we are actually capable of so much.” Ms Ridler said.
Community sporting clubs who would like to increase their female player numbers can also receive support from the Team Girls website, which provides an extensive range of resources and information for parents, articles, toolkits, e-books and videos.