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Women’s sports: Biggest participant levels
As a young girl, I loved sports. Naturally a tomboy, but very shy by nature, I found that sports brought me out of my shell and gave me confidence I needed in other areas of life as well. While I never went professional, I continued to love and participate in sports into adulthood.
Here are some sports that American women are participating in more and more:
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world and there is a large percentage of female players as well. As a youth soccer coach, I see many females getting started in the sport at a very young age. The U.S. State Department says that 18 million people in the U.S. play soccer. Over 40 percent of soccer players in the U.S. are women.
The WNBA was founded in 1996, and is attributed to a growing love of basketball in women across the United States. The exact number of women who play basketball is unknown since many play "street ball" and are not part of any organization or league. I played myself in school and now I coach girls' youth basketball. Each year it seems we have more and more girls who want to play, many of which go on to play for their high schools and colleges.
The Federation of International Basketball Amateurs, also known as FIBA, estimates that over 400 million people play basketball around the world in some type of level. A good majority of these millions are female.
In 2009, more than 30 million Americans were estimated to play tennis. Nearly half of those are women. I remember playing tennis as a girl in Florida where I grew up. It's an affordable sport, and one that is easy to learn and great exercise to perform.
Swimming is great aerobic exercise, low impact and something that women of all ages, shapes and sizes can participate in. It's a great activity for pregnancy, recovering from accident or injury or just for fun anytime. So it's no surprise really that swimming is so popular with women when you look at all of the benefits it has to offer. Swimming is the second most popular sports activity in the United States, and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity.
While golf maintains itself as mainly a "man's sport," it is rapidly rising in popularity for women in the U.S. While an estimated 20 percent of American golfers are female, women are getting into it at a younger and younger age. It's also a sport that can be played at nearly any age so even older women can enjoy it. There are now courses, magazines, clothing, clubs and other golf gear targeted specifically for women.
I take my own young daughters out to play and we see more and more women making their way to the greens. I believe this is a sign that golf will continue to grow female participants in the U.S. in the years to come.
Lisa is a youth coach with a passion for a variety of sports- a track athlete and basketball player in school, she now coaches youth soccer, basketball and softball and enjoys golf, running, rock climbing and other sports.
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