Before a girl emerges as an Olympic medalist, hall of famer or record-breaking champion, she has to start somewhere. And her first step is almost as important as the one she takes across the finish line, says Margaret Hofmann. That’s why Hofmann is making sure those steps are taken with care and guided by proper training.
Hofmann, who earned a Master of Education in 1985, created FemaleAtheletesFirst.com, an online resource dedicated to training girls for athleticism and not for appearance.
Through the site, visitors can find advice from experts on conditioning programs designed just for women, guidance for functional training, online coaching support, information on improving performance, enhancing training and preventing injuries.
“As a coach, I realized that some girls and their parents don’t know how to get started or what kind of conditioning training they should be on,” she says. “It’s just a matter of getting the information to these girls—as well as their coaches and parents—so they can find out what they need to do to compete effectively and safely.”
A lot of girls are sustaining greater rates of injury because they don’t strength-train to prepare for their sport-specific training, says Hofmann. While they may strength-train in the summer, they don’t do it consistently. “That’s due in part to some of these gender-related stereotypes,” she says, “like telling girls that they need to stay petite and muscle makes them look big and bulky. If they have the proper strength-training, they are actually protecting their body.”
Now that the site is off and running at a steady pace, Hofmann is setting her sights on the global arena. “I want our site to be the go-to site for this information and make an impact on female athletes across the globe. I just want to make a difference in their career and help them find a rewarding experience, enjoy a sport-focused career and live a healthy life. That’s what it’s all about.”