Be aware of mansplaining attitudes during trainings and games

Mansplaining is the act of explaining something to someone in a way that suggests that they are stupid based on their expressed gender.
There are many situations where mansplaining can happen. It is important to be aware of these situations and know how to call out their behaviour appropriately; it is also helpful if team leadership is mindful of this phenomenon and knows how to handle the situation properly. If such behaviour is NOT addressed, it can lead to the propagation of microaggressions and harmful stereotypes, ultimately resulting in the marginalisation and the exclusion of women-matching players on the team.

Equity-oriented Considerations

Mansplaining is a widespread phenomenon in many aspects of our society, and sport is not immune from it.
While the term "mansplaining" originated out of a stereotypical situation between a man and a woman, this phenomenon can happen the other way around as well and is not bound to gender.

How to understand if you are mansplaining

Credit: Kim Goodwin

With a little bit of attention, you can avoid mansplaining. For example:

  • Pick-Up Games: Have introductions at the beginning that clarify all the players' different expertise levels. It is extremely frustrating when a man-matching player with minimal experience starts explaining how to throw or cut to a more experienced woman-matching player. Creating this knowledge, in the beginning, can eliminate the situation.
  • Mixed Training: As coaches, it is important to be aware of the team culture and intervene if you notice mansplaining among the players. It can help to talk about the feedback culture and how to ask and give feedback.
  • Mixed Gender Coaches: Talk about your expertise and the expectations for individual training. It is ok to add something if the other coach forgot something. The coaches are equally important to the team, regardless of their gender expression, and undermining the authority of each other won't help you or the team.
  • Extra Exposure: During practice, only women-matching players can call plays and give feedback. This can help in educating the team on mansplaining. Reflect with the team if man-matching players don't follow these rules.

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