View Full Version : Female Handicapping?
07-08-2003, 04:38 PM
In reading some of the posts below, I was curious to know your thoughts on allowing girls different age classification then the boys (inline hockey specific). I saw mention of this in a few of the threads.
Here are some facts to ponder:
In sports, there are clearly not as many women as men (in general) so many sports will go the lengths to change regulations simply to get women to participate. Is this a form of discrimination or a handy mechinism to increase opportunities for females?
Would female respond to this question the same as male?
In civil service, minorities are often sought and recruited to reach federal standards but moreso to increase minority participation. It this a catch-22?
In golf, bowling, and other sports, handicapping is historic but not gender based (or can it be?)
Many leagues allow goalies to play on foot, play for free, and more, simply to get the goalies into the rinks and teams. Isn't this a similar concept?
Is not allowing girls to play down a double edged-sword?
What do you think?
07-08-2003, 05:47 PM
I think that if you handicap the ladies then you are essentially saying to them that they aren't as good as the boys. If you don't handicap them it may cause some who are beginners to give up the game because the level their age is at is not always their skill level.
In the long ruin letting them play down may help them to build up skill and confidence and keep them around the game, but once they get good enough to move up they should.
07-08-2003, 06:27 PM
I think girls should play with the boys till a certain age and then they have an option to be playing up or down. But I think its more important for them to play at the correct age level so they do not hinder the development of their skill.
07-08-2003, 06:32 PM
As an administrator, I agree with the subjective logic used by USA Hockey Inline, and others, that a recreation league can allow a novice female player the luxury of playing down to enable her to have some initial success in her participation. USAHIL recommends not using this rule when the player is of competent skill level.
The application of this rule in tournament play, however is just a crutch that does nothing to aid the female player's development.
My daughter has used this rule to allow her to participate in additional tournament programs for the past two years. She has never played down in house league play.
We feel that, beginning with the 2004 inline hockey year, she individually no longer needs the crutch, and continuing to use it would actually hinder her further development. You only get better by playing with better coaches, players, teams, competition, etc. I am not sure that her playing down has really helped her at all, anyway.
As a league administrator, I have identified several female players who benefit from playing down, as the younger age group is presently more suited to their skill level.
It is indeed a problem that boys are not given the same opportunity, when their skill level would warrant. Obviously, if you could develop a youth league with divisions based on ability, not on age levels, you would be better off (as measured by the fact that each player would have a chance for legitimate, increased success). You will, however, subject yourself to a barrage of "placement" complaints from parents about to which division their child has been assigned.
I am very certain that this gender distinction is entirely discriminatory in nature, and therefore illegal, should anybody choose to challenge it in court.
I was surprised that USAHIL continued it in their 2003-2005 rule book. I might be pretty sure that they will eliminate it from the following one.
We have found (this is both for our specific family, and our league as a whole) that, if you can get the opportunities to be equal for the girls, they will develop at the same rate as the boys, and no gender specific "bending" of the rules will be necessary.
That's the key, and it isn't easy...for example, most parents would stll try to talk a little girl out of even signing up for the sport to begin with.
At the first sign that this child new-to-the-sport might not be having the hoped-for success, the girl is encouraged to quit and "get into something else," while the boy is told to "tough it out, and keep trying his best," til he gets into the next phase of the developmental curve...
The parental, gender-based bias that presently exists in general society continues to act against the development of girls in hockey. The gender-differentiated eligibility rules are a good, if somewhat problematic attempt to overcome this.
We need, however, to develop other solutions that work by providing the opportunities legitimately, without the (perhaps even illegal?) bending of the rules, no matter how positive the intent.
One positive component of our program that has worked for three years, is to offer girl-only activities for all the girls in addition to the co-ed activities. We do this in training, tournament team opportunities, some select league team formations, etc. Don't have enough girls for a separate league yet, but we're working on it.
At last week's SixPac USA national tournament, I could identify 16 girls playing Mite through Midgets, nine of 'em were ours. Only 6 (5 of our 9 and that girl on the Midget Colorado Blast) were playing in their age group. I did not see all the Bantam and Midget teams play, there were probably others.
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by DannyG on 07/08/03 05:45 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
I think in an attempt to provide parity of playing opportunity there is no problem in letting the girls "play down". In fact this is only an extension of the principal of having skill/age rated divisions in all sports - so that there is a level for players to compete at parity with their opponents.
If a girl is that skilled (and there are quite a few) that she doesn't need to play "down" to be competitive then you will probably have to drag her kicking and screaming to play at a lower level anyway. This is true of players of either gender - most want to be measured against the longer yardstick if they are true competitors.
What would be unfair would be for a girl who is obviously competitive in an "open elite" forum - to play down - giving her younger team effectively an unfair advantage which is "legalized" by the rules. This is more likely to happen through the coniving of parents though, than the true desire of the player herself. If she is good enough to play on equal footing with boys her own age at an elite level, she is obviously such a "competitor" by nature that the thought of "playing down" would likely be distateful.
07-08-2003, 06:45 PM
I think because most youth leagues have evaluations, if a girl is deemed to have a high skill level she should be place in the level she belongs in. The same are true for boys and playing in the "normal" or "elite" leagues.
07-09-2003, 09:02 AM
Alas the two edged sword of roller hockey. First, they have given girls an alleged 1 year advantage, then they (USAIHL) amend it to only 3 girls per team to play down.
With the amendment to the rule, will we see a drop in girls participation? Probably not. Since women's hockey in the Olympics, girls have flocked to ice and roller rinks to give it a try. On the west coast, roller programs offer a cheaper chance to get your foot into the door. Most programs will seed the players where they belong regardless of age. The issue comes into play in tournament series. Most series allow the girls an extra year, and many clubs use this advantage. Of the number of girls that play roller, a very small percentage are true impact players.
Ice does not have the same rules, we play with the appropriate age division and compete with most teams.
As roller hockey continues to grow and more girls are enticed into the mix, the rule will change. I hope more all girls teams and tournaments will draw the girls from in house leagues to start to play. Roller is now drawing college scouts and I have heard that some west coast colleges are offering scholarships for roller.
Hopefully, we as the roller community can help to encourage girls to try out the sport. Roller is considerably cheaper than ice and alot more fun.
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