Coaches Training Athletes Of Opposite Gender


Graciela Martinez

Girls’ Soccer coach Mark Pike tests the soccer players on how much weight they bench.

Coaches teach their athletes how to play the sport, train with them everyday and help their players improve their skills.
According to the girls’ basketball coach Charles Gabbard, coaching a girls’ basketball team is not that different from coaching a boys’ basketball team.
“I don’t coach girls any different,” Gabbard said. “They are athletes just like the boys and want to be coached. They want to be worked hard, they want to be disciplined and they want to win. The biggest difference I have found is that if the girls know that you are invested in them and care about them as a person, and that you know what you are doing and teaching, they will work really hard and do what you ask them to do. There are some exceptions, but to me that is what makes it easier to coach.”
A coach’s gender does not determine their aptness, according to varsity tennis player sophomore Jaelen Lou Sandoval. A good coach is open to feedback, can respect themselves and their athletes and does not allow their ego to get out of control.
“Having a male coach for basketball is an awesome experience,” junior varsity basketball player junior Melissa Durbal said. “I love Coach Gabbard. He’s a very caring person. [Him being] the opposite gender doesn’t really change the way he coaches. He understands what we go through and he really makes us come together as a team, especially in our struggles. Sometimes [we] have fights and problems with each other, [but] Coach Gabbard helps us in our relationships and not creating a lot of problems.”
For some female athletes, having a coach who is not female does not affect how they play.
“You don’t really think about [having a male coach],” varsity wrestler sophomore Alyssa LeRoy said. “The guys and the girls practice together, and we have a male coach. We don’t think that’s something different. We just want to wrestle.”
Even so, there are also female athletes who are conscious of having a coach who is not female.
“I’m used to having a male coach in tennis,” Sandoval said. “My dad has been coaching me since I was seven- years-old. It’s okay, but I often wonder at times how the class would be if there was a female coach teaching it.”
A female coach in charge of a female sports team or a male coach in charge of a male sports team does not always make someone a better coach, according to Gabbard.
“There are minor differences, but they are big in the grand scheme of things,” Gabbard said. “I think it’s easy for coaches to talk the game and to convert to one side or the other in coaching, but there are different aspects of the game that are just unique to the gender side of the sport.”