top of page

Coaches Blog

Let's Talk About Women's Sports

Something we have not been able to say often— how awesome is all the buzz surrounding women's sports?!


The US Women's National Soccer team has been building in popularity over the past few years. The Kansas City Current played their first game in the new stadium that was purpose-built for them. Sabrina Ionescu and Stephen Curry faced off in a shooting contest.


Superstars like Tom Brady and Kevin Durant are major investors in women's sports. Jalen Hurts's all-female management team negotiated a deal that made him the highest-paid player in the NFL at the time.


The queens of it all, NCAA Women's Basketball is dominating the men's game in storylines, media attention, and, yes, even Final Four ticket prices! As we near the end of Women's History Month, I'd like to take the opportunity to celebrate where we are in women's sports and continue to advocate for what can still be improved because even with all this, we are not there yet!


As a young female athlete, I didn't consciously consider the disparity between men's and women's sports coverage, opportunities, and pay. Yet, I was aware of certain realities. 

  1. The majority of my sports idols were men. This wasn't due to a shortage of incredible women in sports but rather my unawareness of them. 

  2. I knew I could never be a professional athlete, and that be my only profession. Female professional athletes held full-time jobs after or, more commonly, during their professional careers. Athletes who could play their sport professionally and retire played football and baseball. Women didn't play those sports. 

  3. Professional and collegiate coaches were men. "Your dream is to become a coach? Why not do something that makes more money?" I heard this going into college. While it may not have been entirely inaccurate, the underlying message was that female coaching ends at the high school level. Generally speaking, professional and top-tier collegiate coaches make plenty of money (of course, this isn't true of all professional and collegiate sports.) Still, very few high-level coaches were women. 


Now, I feel as though much of this is changing. There are female position coaches in the NFL, and Tara VanDevere of Stanford Women's Basketball holds the NCAA Basketball record for most wins. Caitlyn Clark is one of the biggest names in sports, and Sue Bird is retired. She is still working but doing things more like most retired athletes, not necessarily working a "nine-to-five."


I was lucky to have role models in high school and college that many athletes did not. Throughout this time, I had three female coaches who all started their families while I was competing for them.


At first, this seemed very normal to me. Toward the end of my career, it became apparent it was not typical. It had been a career killer for female coaches in the past. Today, I am so grateful for each of those fearless coaches. It was incredible to see them be great coaches and great moms. Women absolutely can excel professionally and be great mothers.  


Society increasingly embraces women in sports, but some things still need attention. There needs to be continued coverage of collegiate women's sports beyond basketball. Sports like softball and volleyball need more media attention.


Sports like track and field, swimming, and diving tend to have equal coverage for men and women, but they need more attention overall. To be fair, these are not traditionally "viewer-friendly" sports. [Side note: swimming hype and media coverage are picking up. Follow Kyle Sockwell on your preferred social media to keep up with swimming entertainment.]


We still need more female coaches, we need to celebrate and encourage female coaches with families, and female coaches need equal pay. What about female athletic directors, NGB directors, and league commissioners? According to the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), "women hold 26.9% of executive positions in 31 major international sports federations." Not enough. We are getting there. Improvements don't happen overnight, but we need more female leaders in sports. 


Let's conclude with some celebration! Here are some awesome women's sports facts, many of which will be centered around the Women's March Madness Tournament. 

  • The Women's 2023 title game's audience of 10 million was more than 60% of the men's final. 

  • Caitlin Clark is Division I Basketball's all-time leading scorer.

  • According to Forbes, a 2024 Men's Final Four ticket price is $242, and a Women's Final Four ticket costs $774. (In 2023, ticket prices were $176 for the women and $292 for the men.)

  • "Players with 40+ points on 90% shooting in an NCAA Tournament game, all-time (men or women): Bill Walton, UCLA (1973 title game), Audi Crooks, Iowa State (today [March 22, 2024])." -Opta STATS

  •  Not a fact- "The women players are kicking the men's butts. You've got all the girls from South Carolina. You've got JuJu Watkins, you've got Caitlin Clark. It's just a better game, just more competitive." -Shaq  (Let's note the all-time leading scorer was NOT the first mentioned.)

  • Livvy Dunne of LSU Gymnastics holds the third-highest NIL deal in the NCAA – $3.2M Valuation.

  • The most dominant swimmers in the pool right now are women (in no particular order)

  • Katie Ledecky

  • Gretchen Walsh

  • Kate Douglass

  • Sarah Sjöström

  • Chelsea Sodaro won the 2022 Ironman World Championship just 18 months after having her daughter, Skye.

  • Jasmin Paris is the first female finisher of the Barkley Marathon.

  • "The PWHL is set to break the women's hockey attendance record after selling out the Bell Centre in Montreal." -Just Women's Sports


Congratulations to all these women. Let's continue to drive the demand for women in sports!

 

Coach Sydney brings more than 20 years of swimming experience to Team MPI as both a swimmer and coach. As a swimmer, she was a Colorado State Champion, State Record Holder, and All-American. She moved on to compete for the University of North Texas, an NCAA Division I team, qualifying for National Invite and Conference USA Championships. As a coach, Sydney has coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level with UNT and is now the Head Coach for the Colorado Torpedoes in Manitou Springs, CO.

34 views

Comments


bottom of page