In recent years, women’s participation in sports has increased dramatically. With this rise in participation, however, comes more competition and pressure to succeed. Several coaches are now reporting that there is also an increase in the bad sportsmanship displayed by girls.
In a study conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association, researchers found that in most sports, girls are outpacing boys in participation. They examined baseball, soccer, basketball, softball, and volleyball. The association split participants into two classes: ages 7-11 and 12-17.
The Vice-President of information and research of the association, Thomas Doyle, commented that “the major growth in youth sports is the result of increased female participation,” which he, and many others, attribute to Title IX. Gender equality in athletics has afforded women and young girls many opportunities they would not have had in the past. Now, Doyle added, greater interest is generated at a younger level, in “elementary and recreational league levels.”
Conee Zotos, a director of athletics at Drew University, noted, “Pre-Title IX, there was almost a discouragement for girls to play.” But with the encouragement and growth of women’s sports, sportsmanship has become an issue. “I hope women draw it back toward the middle,” Zotos said, but she added that bad language in the stands and increased pressure from parents is definitely increasing.