How Can We Help Girls Build Confidence So They Want to Stay in Sports?

Forty-five percent of teenage girls drop out of sports (which is twice the rate of boys) because they don't feel confident in their bodies. So Dove partnered with Nike to do something about it.

One of the most influential people in a young girl’s life is her sports coach. In fact, a survey conducted by Dove and Nike involving 3,506 girls aged between 9 and 17 from Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, Italy and Brazil found that 79 percent of girls credited their coaches for their increased confidence.

Because of their impactful role, coaches need to know the correct language to use and avoid when talking to their team to help boost and maintain self-esteem. Research shows that teenage girls drop out of sports in Canada at twice the rate of boys due to low body confidence—but coaches can help change that, with the right tool.

Dove and Nike collaborated with the Centre for Appearance Research and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport to create a free online coaching program called Body Confident Sport, which aims to teach coaches, as well as teachers and parents, how to boost girls’ confidence and promote their continued participation in sports.

What Is Body Confident Sport?

The program is split into two components. Body Confident Coaching is a free, online, self-paced course tailored for coaches, teachers and parents. It equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to create a positive body image environment in sports leagues, classrooms and at home. It’s composed of three lessons (90 minutes total) that teach adults how to facilitate conversations around body image.

The second part of the program is Body Confident Athletes, which takes place after coaches, teachers or parents complete the Body Confident Coaching program. Body Confident Athletes offers complementary lesson plans for them to teach teens what they’ve learned. The program includes three 60-minute sessions, which are to be completed over three weeks (one session per week). Through the program, girls can learn how body image can impact the way they view sports and how to treat their bodies with respect.

The overall goal of the Body Confident Sport program is to encourage young athletes to shift their thinking from “What does my body look like?” to “What is my body capable of doing and experiencing?” By reframing negative thoughts, girls are able to feel more comfortable playing sports and focus on how being active makes them feel.

Both Body Confident Sport programs are available in six languages and can be found at

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