There is significant focus on girls in sport at the moment and a fantastic event was held last Saturday at Halton Tennis Centre by our Everyball female coaches and 60 'everyball girls'. Absolutely brilliant.
How about the boys?
Well, my wife Suzie revealed this morning that Andy Murray had been in her dreams last night. What about I asked with curiosity. "Oh we were just chatting about raising boys in sport, and Andy said that I should just give Judy a call and have a coffee.'
Suzie: 'But she's really busy with Strictly and I'm sure won't have time for me.'
Andy: 'Oh I'm sure she can fit you in between rehearsals.'
Just got me thinking though. What about the boys?
Steve Biddulph writes in his book 'Raising Boys' (Why boys are different - and how to help them become happy and well-balanced men):
'Today it's the girls who are more sure of themselves, motivated, hard working. Boys are often adrift in life, failing at school, awkward in relationships, at risk for violence, alcohol and drugs, and so on....
Boys don't just grow up in a smooth and even way. You can't just shovel in cereal, provide clean T-shirts, and have them one day wake up as a man! A certain sequence has to be followed. Anyone who spends time around boys will be amazed at how they change, and the range of moods and energies which they show at different times. The puzzle is to understand what is needed - and when. The three stages of boyhood are timeless and universal.
1. Birth to six - the age when the boy primarily belongs to his mother. He is 'her' boy, even though his father may play a very large role. The aim at this age is to give strong love and security, and to 'switch a boy on' to life as a warm and welcoming experience.
2. Six to fourteen - when the boy, out of his own internal drives, starts wanting to learn to be a man, and looks more and more to his father for interest and activity. (Though his mother remains very involved, and the wider world is beckoning too.) The purpose at this stage is to build competence and skill while developing kindness and playfulness too - becoming a balanced person. This is when a boy becomes happy and secure about being male.
3. Fourteen to adult - when the boy needs input from male mentors if he is to complete the journey into being fully grown-up. Mum and dad step back a little, but they must organise good mentors in their son's life or he will have to rely on an ill-equipped peer group for his sense of self. The aim is to learn skills, responsibility and self-respect by joining more and more with the adult community.
Clearly, we've got an important role to play as coaches and club to support our boys in this process. Let's not forget about them!