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The truth about teenage girls and sport.

17 June 2019

Team Girls is dedicated to fostering and promoting girls’ participation in sport. It’s about girls supporting girls, building up their confidence, and knowing they’re stronger when they stand together – on and off the court.

“Are you surprised?”

That’s what people keep asking me. Am I surprised that the latest findings in Suncorp’s Youth and Confidence Report reveal that nearly half of teenage girls are dropping out of sport between the ages of 15 and 17.

Sad? Yes. Surprised? Not so much.

When our girls hit the senior years of high school – life starts to feel more intense.  Suddenly a once manageable weekly workload is jammed with study, assignments, homework, more study, plus family commitments, hanging out with friends and maybe even a part-time job thrown into the mix. When our kids are struggling to manage their workloads, our natural parenting instinct is to help them alleviate their stress. This often results in decisions to drop activities and the first casualty is often sport. .This coupled with the fact that often at this time, sport gets serious and very competitive, meaning girls are likely to walk away.

But let me tell you – the truth is in those stress-filled years of senior high school we actually want our kids running towards sport not away from it. Let me tell you why.

Sport does wonders for our mental health

At a time when feelings of anxiety and depression are on the rise amongst teen girls, sport does a great job alleviating those feelings.  When we move it gets those feel-good endorphins flooding our brains.  Sport helps to brighten your mood! And when our kids are out on the field or the track or the court or the pool – it gives them a mental health break from their daily worries.

Sport boosts our self-esteem and confidence

When a girl feels fit and strong it changes the way she feels about her body.  The feeling of pushing your body, getting sweaty and red-faced and seeing what you’re capable of is a terrific feeling. Playing sport boosts our self-esteem and our self-confidence.

Sport gifts us with team mates

If I could gift every girl the feeling of having ‘team mates’ I would.  That feeling of belonging and being part of something bigger than yourself is so important in high school.  For most kids, it’s those ‘team girls’ moments off-court – the friendships, the laughter, the shared experiences - which provides the best memories.  Sports, especially team sports, help protect us from feeling isolated and lonely. And Suncorp’s Team Girls initiative is all about girls supporting girls on court and off.

Sport teaches us vital life skills

Increasingly parents are swooping in and saving their children from experiencing any negative feelings.  Sport is one of the few areas where kids truly learn how to be gracious in victory and defeat, how to take feedback from coaches, what it means to be a team player and the skills required to be a leader. 

Rebecca Sparrow

Rebecca Sparrow is Suncorp’s #TeamGirls ambassador and a best-selling author, columnist, podcast host and passionate advocate for teenage girls. Rebecca regularly visits high schools to present to students, and has developed a range of resources to help girls navigate their way through their formative years.

Follow Bec's work on Facebook or visit You can even catch Bec on the #TeamGirls in 10 podcast series.

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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