There’s a high school girl [Savannah] who tells me how much she loves playing pick-up games… She says she is usually the only female and how much it helps her because the boys play so much faster. It also helps with her ball movement and running speed.
Boys play more pick-up soccer
Generally, beyond general gender-typical behaviors [like confidence, aggression, and style of play, to name a few], boys socially and developmentally are more likely to be exposed to or naturally pursue opportunities that put them on the ball more.
An example of this would be that you will see boys playing pick-up soccer almost anywhere, but will have a hard time finding girls doing the same.
The best combo is a mix of pick-up, training alone and private lessons. If you can do all 3 do it.
As soccer continues to grow in popularity, you will also see soccer being played by more kids.
Typically, boys tend to gravitate toward a few more specific physical game options.
Through organizations like AmericaSCORES you will see this trend grow more as barriers continue to be broken down so that all kids can play the game.
Girls do more private soccer lessons
It’s not that girls don’t want to play soccer outside of team training. The opposite is true. Girls do more private lessons than boys.
Overall girls are more humble and are open to learning. They do private lessons longer and tend to have a more teachable spirit as they get older, whereas boys tend to think that at a certain age they’ve outgrown the need to learn anything new beyond practicing their game.
The commitment of girls to private training puts them ahead technically from their peers. While you won’t see them playing pick-up games, you will see the training show up.
Pick-up games are where players learn from other players and become more confident with the ball at their feet. You learn to play with or against any style of player.
Gender skill differences in soccer
Technique/skill wise there’s really not much difference at all.
In regards to precision passing and first touch it’s the same.
When it comes to shooting power, boys have more, but that’s not a skill. That has to do with being stronger. Same with running speed. Of course some girls can out run many boys, but for the most part there is an obvious difference.
In the past, I’ve had girls and boys in soccer lessons compete. Example: 5v5 passing and shooting competitions to see which group could connect passes and score 10 goals first. It was dead even. They went back and forth in who won each set.
One thing that girls differ from boys is the timing of the jump when heading the ball. This doesn’t mean every boy and every girl. Naturally most boys do this better, but regardless of your gender, once you learn it and practice there’s no difference. Learn these 20 tips on headers.
Besides these 2 points there is not much of a difference in terms of skills and ability.
Difference in mentality
When it comes to how they learn and listen that is a different story. Boys [most] you can be much harder on verbally whereas girls respond very well to praise.
At the same time girls do want to know what they are doing wrong, compared to boys who often times have a hard time being told something is not right.
Being teachable is important in sports or anything we do, so either gender who wants to learn is going to put themselves in a better place going forward.
Influence on dad to kids in sports
As a dad of two daughters and someone who grew up fatherless, I have read of the influence especially of dads on their daughters in terms of confidence.
I have experienced the impact of not having a dad as it influenced my own confidence at times when younger.
One recommendation I can make for those of you with soccer-playing daughters is to create your own pick-up games in your back yard or at the local park. You’ll see lots of progress in more ways than one. 🙂
Parents, tell your daughters and sons that you believe in them. That whether they go great or bad, you love them the same.
You believing in them, helps them believe in themselves more.
In conclusion, the 1 big difference between girls and boys in soccer is how they like to spend their time improving outside of team practice. The boys like pick-up games, while most girls prefer 1:1 or group skills training.
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