The why. This is extremely important to all who participate in sport. It is what gives athletes their drive and purpose. They why can change from beginning to end but performance can be effected if it is not truly from within. With the female athlete, their reasons to start participation vary especially from their male counterparts.
Friends are one of the greatest reasons for females to start sport participation. The adage if your friends jumped off a bridge would you? Holds true in this case. Many young female athletes either start participating in sport as a group of friends or because their friends are already involved. Compared to their male counterparts females are not inclined to join a sport group or team by themselves. They also are more likely to quit if they no longer have friends at sport or if they become bullied in any way.
Both male and female athletes feel a lot of pressure from family to participate, the female athlete however more so. Females see it as a sense of duty to their family to participate, whether they are happy or not.
Females will choose to participate in sport as a means of exercise and weight loss, especially as they grow older. This is one of the main reasons for females past their teenage years to restart or start participation in sport.
Another difference between males and females is the desire to compete. Females will continue in sport participation not due to the competitive drive of beating their opponents but the internal drive of accomplishing the task and improving themselves. This is one of the main points that keep females involved. They want to continually improve themselves. The sense of accomplishment over weighs that of besting their opponent if there is one.
One thing that everyone involved with female athletes needs to keep in mind is that their is a higher drop out rate compared to males. We need to remove boundaries that interfere with female participation in sport. Be it gender biases, the emphasis on the body or sport stereotypes, we need to encourage females to participate in sport.