Talk about a grand slam philosophy.
Parenting blogger and author Doyin Richards, a coach for the only all-girls team in its West L.A. league, is teaching his players that they can play ball with the boys.
And the California father of two, a self-proclaimed feminist, says that by instilling confidence in them, he hopes to show his players that anything boys can do they can do, too.
“My goal is to let them know that these girls are just as good, just as talented, just as powerful as any boy out there.” he told The Huffington Post of his team, the Angels. “We have to start early with these girls to let them know they can compete.”
The coach told HuffPost that his team, who plays against mostly all-boys or majority-boys teams, encounters challenges on the field. Spectators or others often do not see them in the same way that they do the boys, he said.
“In the beginning, I found myself saying, ‘Good job sweetie!’ or ‘Come here honey!’ But then I thought, ‘Wait a second. That’s not OK.'"
The dad explained to HuffPost that while coaching, he strives to change attitudes and even out the playing field. When speaking to his players, he’s careful to talk to them just as he would any male player.
“In the beginning, I found myself saying, ‘Good job sweetie!’ or ‘Come here honey!’ But then I thought, ‘Wait a second. That’s not OK,’” he said. “That could translate to when they’re at work and their boss calls them some pet name. They’re not honeys they’re not sweeties. These are girls ― human beings with names and need to be respected as such.”
Furthermore, he said he helps them zero in on specific skills and the game itself, rather than the opposing team.
“Focus on how to swing, focus on your ready position when you’re on the field ... When you really focus in on the task at hand, you don’t worry about your opponent,” he said.
While he tries to instill feminist values into his coaching, Richards also asserts that it’s crucial for the girls to see a male who is committed to gender equality.
“I think it’s so, so important to have male allies. I want my daughters to see me cooking in the kitchen, to see me cleaning up, to see me doing their hair, so they understand ... that that’s to be expected.”
“I think it’s so, so important to have male allies. I want my daughters to see me cooking in the kitchen, to see me cleaning up, to see me doing their hair, so they understand ... that that’s to be expected,” he said. “That men who truly embrace feminism are the norm. I want my daughters and my team to know that.”
And ultimately, through his team and their strength, he says he hopes that people will see girls as serious athletes.