Girls in Sport
My name is Kiera Lyons I am a High-Performance Coach, Athlete Director and Manager of Goliath High Performance in Edmonton, a gym located on the west side of the city.
My background is deeply rooted in sports and training, modalities that helped me develop and navigate life-skills I use daily. I grew up just outside the city in the small town of Ryley Alberta where athletics became a focus at a young age. The highlight of my athletic career was playing basketball at the University of Saskatchewan as well as assistant coaching for The Edmonton Stinger’s, a men’s professional team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
Athletics has been a monumental influence on my life, and I’m grateful to have found a career where I can pass along all that I have learned. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunities I did as a child to develop my passion for sports and competition. I had dedicated coaches, strong role models and supportive parents who were as passionate about my aspirations as I was. I am aware that not every child has the same foundational backing as I did and I want to make training more accessible, while still being able to keep our gym afloat.
The pandemic has been hard on the fitness industry and we are no different. Goliath prides itself on not only being strong role models for our youth but also has found its niche in training young female athletes and attracting older women who want to learn. We have three female varsity alumni trainers who are as passionate as I am and we provide a unique team catered to empowering girls and women of all ages.
Athletics has always been skewed in its equality, and when I was younger the opportunities were far less than they are now. We have come a long way, but we still have lots of work to do. I work hard every day to provide opportunities for girls to get involved in athletics because I truly believe that girls who play sports become women who lead, and we need women who lead.
Who Will it Benefit?
The impact on girls in sport over the pandemic has shown a troubling trend and needs immediate attention. Not only are we trending in a massive down-slide when it comes to our youth’s mental health, but in Edmonton, over this past summer girls ages 13 to 18 saw a 94% drop out rate in sport, and for girls aged 6 to 12, 93% decreased participation in their sport or stopped playing altogether. Across Canada, the dropout rate was 1 in 4.
According to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, girls’ participation rate in sports drops by 22% as they reach the teen years.
A large part of why I believe this is so is due to self-consciousness related to body image. Having your value attached to your beauty is a very hard habit to break, but the best way to do it is to be surrounded by other women who encourage and believe in you.