New research has laid out the blueprint to support teenage girls to take part in sport and to develop qualities that will support them throughout their futures.
The independent research, commissioned by Chance to Shine and NatWest, highlights the importance of building self-confidence amongst girls, motivating them through supporting others as well as giving them greater control of the activities that they take part in.
The research, conducted by the Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research (spear) at Canterbury Christ Church University, assessed the Chance to Shine Secondary School Girls Programme which worked with 1,700 specifically trained ‘Young Leaders’, with a further 2,200 girls taking part in after-school clubs in over 100 state schools across the country.
Sport England data shows that of secondary school age pupils, girls are notably less likely to be ‘active’ (42%), compared to boys (49%). Building on years of experience delivering in Secondary Schools, Chance to Shine developed a bespoke programme to support teenage girls to play cricket and, specifically, to develop their leadership skills.
At the end of the programme there was a ‘statistically significant’ increase in the number of girls who said they were active every day (from 34% to 39.6%). This was also reflected in changing the girls’ attitudes towards the sport, with just over three quarters (78%) saying that they ‘wanted to play more cricket than before’.
Young Leaders were first trained to take on coaching responsibilities in sessions and then supported to put those skills into practice in after-school clubs and organising and leading primary school cricket festivals. The research showed statistically significant growth in key leadership traits such as confidence, resilience and adaptability.
Laura Cordingley, Chief Executive at Chance to Shine, said: “At Chance to Shine we have seen how the power of cricket can support young people to develop the skills that will benefit them throughout their life. The core leadership principles that you can learn, like dealing with setbacks, adapting to changing situations and problem-solving, will all stand girls in good stead through their professional lives.
“The key is to get girls interested in playing sport and this research shows that our programme has not only got more girls active but it has helped them to understand and see the benefits of playing sport.”
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Chance to Shine has seen a significant decrease in fundraised income. Without much needed support, the charity may not be able to continue its work in secondary schools.