Train Like a Girl

The tug-o-war for time in the weight room

When you think of girls’ high school sports, what comes to mind? You probably don’t think of calloused hands, heavy lifting, and grimy metal bars.

My entire childhood was composed of different sports: from swim to dance to cheer to basketball to cross country to track to soccer. I’ve scouted sports high and low.

But I was never aware of the inequality my gender suffered in the athletic world.  I only noticed it when I started following sports in the media. News of inequality in training areas would come out, but not much was done to stop this unfairness.  Organizers and coaches would be “canceled” and slammed online, but to my innocent surprise, that was it. 

Thankfully, some things have changed over the years, and it’s clear that progress is being made. The number of women’s athletics moving into the weight room is intense, along with the support of this notion.

Women’s sports deserve a spot in weight rooms because it strengthens their performance on the pitch, field, court, course, and track. Along with that, it teaches athletes to work hard, trust in their abilities, and build endurance.

MN coaches strive to include everyone in the weight room by coming together to fight the negative stereotypes existing in athletics while promoting the weight room for girls’ activities, as they should.

“Female sports want in on this weight room and they want opportunities to get stronger and benefit their sport. It’s a community involvement,” head girls track coach Monte Scheef said.

Female athletes do, in fact, want to use the weight room. They notice the good that comes out of weight work and want to continue prospering from it.

“[Time in the weight room] helps a lot because since I throw it’s a lot of strength-based stuff. So when I get in [the weight room] it really helps give me a break from throwing while still getting stronger for the season,” junior Kat Beachler, a thrower on the girls track team said.

Girls soccer takes a similar route as girls track. With the girls soccer program, lifting is an important part of the schedule as well. We’re in the weight room after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:25-4:25 PM. This time really helps us prepare for the season. After these sessions I feel stronger and more balanced knowing that this will help me perform at the next level once the season comes around. The main idea of weight training is to improve yourself and your sport.

 With the help of programs like SWAT, an acronym standing for “Strong Women All Together”, this goal has become easier for MN girls athletics.

In SWAT, athletes learn how to properly weighlift, run, and stretch, and they learn how to improve speed and agility with sprinting.

Out of SWAT, coaches set up lifting & conditioning schedules for their programs after school, before school, and on the weekends. The effect conditioning has on their team is instantly recognizable. 

“[The weight room] helps prepare athletes to get stronger and faster. For games and competitions, as we play teams that are sometimes bigger, faster, and stronger, it helps us, and all athletes, compete with those athletes. For soccer, it improves their skill on the ball or off the ball. It’s a way of just being a stronger athlete,” head girls soccer coach James Abueg said.

As a female athlete, I’m eternally thankful things have changed. Although the world still has a long way to go for it to reach full gender equality in not only sports, but in the workforce and everyday life, it really is an uplifting thing that girls athletics are finally getting a better chance in the weight room. 

Girls sports will always deserve a spot in the weight room, as male sports do. Distinct athletic groups do different activities in the weight room because of the variety of their activities, but one thing is universal and for certain: we’re here to stay.