CHBS programs participate in Girls and Women in Sport Day

Students from the Morrison Bruce Center and Coaching Education Minor assisted with this JMU Athletics event

College of Health and Behavioral Studies

by Morgan Vuknic

National Girls and Women in Sport Day

“You can do anything you put your mind to, you just have to go out and do it,” Morrison Bruce Center (MBC) graduate director Catie Cavallaro said.

JMU Athletics hosted an event for National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 12 with this thought in mind. 

The event allowed young girls to visit campus and participate in different sports and coaching drills. Members of JMU women’s soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cheerleading led stations teaching the girls basic skills in their respective sports.

JMU’s Morrison Bruce Center (MBC) and coaching education minor students in Lori Gano-Overway’s Introduction to Coaching class also assisted in the event through hosting stations regarding balance and basketball.  

Gano-Overway said the main goal of the National Women and Girls in Sports Day event is to encourage girls to be physically active in their everyday lives. She said throughout the day, many of the girls at her coaching station improved and started to really enjoy what they were doing. 

“We want them to feel more competent,” Lori Gano-Overway said. “If they feel competent, then they’re more likely to engage in physical activity. Already they’re picking up on new skills, even in just the 10-15 minutes they’ve been here they’ve already shown improvement.” 

Another aspect of the day is to show girls that they can be just as active as boys. Cavallaro said there are a lot of stigmas around being active and fit as a woman so she, and the others involved in the event, want to show these girls that it’s positive to participate in sports and physical activity. 

“Men are usually encouraged to be active so it’s seen as a guy thing - but it’s not a guy thing, it’s a human thing,” Cavallaro said. Our goal is to tell the girls ‘You can do anything you want to do. Don’t listen to the stigmas.’ We want them to learn that they can be active and that they’re capable of whatever they put themselves up to but also that there is help if they need it.”

Cavallaro was part of the balance station at the event. In this station, the kids learned stretches and went through multiple balance exercises such as walking on balance beams and ducking under hoops.

While not a sport, Cavallaro said learning balance and coordination skills is important for the girls because they can help them not only in any sport they choose to pursue but also in everyday life. 

National Girls and Women in Sport Day

For the basketball station, junior psychology majors and members of Gano-Overway’s coaching class, Carissa Tambroni and Cameron Gring, assisted the girls in learning basic basketball skills. The station involved Tambroni and Gring, along with other coaching students, showing the girls how to shoot, pass and block.

Tambroni said the most important part to her was making sure the kids have fun. She said it’s important to show the girls how to play a sport but they’re not going to remember every single detail so it’s more important to make sure they’re enjoying themselves.

“You have to put yourself in [the kid’s] shoes,” Tambroni said. “They look up to us so much and get so excited that you have to make sure you’re bringing the excitement so they can have as much fun as possible.” 

From a student perspective, Gring said she enjoyed gaining practical coaching experience. She said having an opportunity like this before going out into a full-time coaching job is important because it gives you time to learn before being fully on your own.

With professors like Gano-Overway helping with the station, she said she was able to pick up some new coaching skills and try new techniques with the kids which she really appreciated having the opportunity to do so. 

“Your professors are here to guide you and show you how things are done before throwing yourself fully into coaching,” Gring said. “It’s super important for students to gradually work their way up and gain more knowledge as they go.”

One thing Gring hopes the kids learned from the event is to not be scared when it comes to trying out sports. 

“Girls can do a lot,” Gring said. “I grew up in sports and it can be intimidating when there aren’t as many girls. We want the girls to be able to be comfortable with competition in any environment.” 

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Published: Monday, February 27, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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