A common element in i9 Sports® leagues across the country is boys and girls playing on the same teams in all sports, especially in the Pee Wee and Junior divisions.
“While some of our Senior leagues might offer a boys or girls-only league for a more competitive offering, we recommend kids play coed sports under the age of 10,” said Alli Wentzell, Manager of Sports Programming and Education at i9 Sports®.
The i9 Sports® philosophy is very closely aligned with Stage 1 of the American Development Model which emphasizes discovery of key concepts and motor skills of sports in order to learn how the sport is played for young athletes ages 0-12.
“I think people often assume that boys and girls want different things from playing sports but in reality, they actually just want to play hard, have fun and make friends,” said Wentzell.
A recent study conducted by Amanda J. Visek, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health helped to dispel the myths that girls only care about social aspects and boys just want competition.
“Our data indicate girls and boys are more similar than different when it comes to what makes playing sports fun,” said Visek. “What counts most for girls and boys are things like ‘trying your best,’ ‘working hard,’ ‘staying active,’ and ‘playing well together as a team.’ These findings are the same for athletes at younger and older ages and across recreational and more competitive levels of play.”
Coed leagues also allows i9 Sports® to offer more opportunities for athletes to learn and discover new sports. For example, it can be difficult to form a full league of girls-only flag football teams or boys-only volleyball teams.
“It creates a better social environment for the players when boys and girls can play together,” said Wentzell. “Coed leagues allow brothers and sisters, classmates and friends to play on the same teams.”
Playing together at a young age helps boys and girls learn the best from each other on the field.
“Boys usually play more focused on their individuality while girls can be more team-oriented,” said Wentzell. “Playing together can broaden their skills and help them progress.”
Not only is coed play beneficial for young athletes, but our coed offering is often mentioned by parents as one of their favorite parts about i9 Sports®!
“My main reason [for playing at i9 Sports®] is that they are coed. My daughter is able to play a sport that she’s always wanted to and do so with supportive coaches and players,” A parent from Georgia commented in a recent review.
Another parent from North Carolina said “We love the fact that the teams are coed. Although we do not have daughters, we love that our son is learning that girls have a competitive edge also!”
There are many benefits of coed youth sports leagues including more diversity, more opportunities and a better social environment for children. At i9 Sports®, we value our customers and at the end of the day, all we want is for our i9 Sports® athletes to have fun, learn the importance of sportsmanship, and make life long memories.