The Beautiful Project started as an idea a number of years ago, when I was first starting to coach soccer while my eldest daughter was in the early elementary grades. I started noticing that the more I encouraged the team to get together for cookouts, cupcake parties and the like, the better they would play as a group. Clearly there was something going on with the group dynamics of girls on sports teams. So I started reading up on theories about coaching girls - and the more I did, the more clear it became that young female athletes were very different from boys not just emotionally, but mentally, physically and developmentally. In fact, they were so different that any coach not trained in at least the basics of coaching girls was probably doing something wrong.
Doing things wrong, I discovered as my research went on, had big consequences. Numerous studies showed that girls who stayed with sports into high school got better grades, had fewer emotional and social problems and were generally healthier than girls who didn't. But statistics also showed that girl athletes are much more likely to quit sports than boys and more likely to suffer injuries like concussions and torn ACLs. And while there were literally thousands of DVDs on how to coach everything from basic ball skills to corner kicks, there were only a few books and even fewer videos devoted to how to coach girls.
I hope you'll take a closer look and help the soccer girls in your life achieve their full potential both as athletes and as strong, healthy young women.
Ralph Ranalli, Beautiful Project Founder