New research suggests that football can have a greater positive impact on the self-confidence of teenage girls than other popular sports.
The largest study of its kind was recently conducted by UEFA and an elite group of specialists to investigate the effect football has on the psychological and emotional state of girls and young women in Europe. The research took into account the impact that football has on self-confidence, self-esteem, well-being, feelings of togetherness, motivation and life skills and compared those results to other popular sports. Data was collected from six countries: Denmark, England, Germany, Spain, Poland and Turkey.
As well as analysing existing research literature concerning the links between football and self-confidence, self-esteem, life skills and well-being, the study gathered data on 4,128 girls and young women aged 13 and over.
The research suggests that although women’s football is at different stages in its development across Europe, there are many similarities when it comes to its impact on self-confidence.
The most powerful being that wherever they live, whatever their stage in the game, girls who play football are more confident than girls who don’t play sport. But more than that, girls who play football are more confident than girls who play other sports.
- 80% of teenage girls felt more confident as a result of being part of their football team/club vs 74% who played other sports
- 54% young footballers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I am less concerned what others think about me as a result of playing my sport’ compared with 41% of those who played other sports
- 58% of the 13–17 year-old female footballers questioned said they had overcome a lack of self-confidence as a result of playing football, compared with 51% of girls who play other sports;
- 48% said they are less self-conscious as a result of playing football, compared with 40% of those who play other sports;